School Board Member Resigns Amid Backlash Over Israel Remarks
After sparking controversy with her comments about Israel, a member of the Colonial Board of School Directors has decided to step down from her position. The resignation, announced on Facebook, followed widespread backlash from the community after Dr. Jamina Clay, who was elected in 2021 to the school board, took to Facebook to express her views on the conflict in the Middle East.
In her now-deleted post, she referred to the Israel Defense Forces as a “terrorist organization” and alleged that they have a plan to eliminate Palestinians. “The terrorist organization known to many as the IDF is currently targeting a hospital…The world watches while the Palestinian people are eliminated,” she wrote.
In her resignation statement on Facebook, Clay acknowledged the unintended harm caused by her choice of words and expressed regret for any pain her post had caused and removed it.
“Because of the pain that my post has caused, I have resigned from my seat on the Colonial School Board effective immediately,” she wrote, adding, “I understand that the district needs to heal from the painful words that I chose, and it is best to do that in my absence. The board is prepared to move forward and I hope that with me no longer occupying the seat, the community is able to do so as well.”
Clay’s resignation was effective immediately, pending a formal acceptance vote by the school board, which is likely to occur next month. The Colonial School District recognized the hurt caused by Dr. Clay’s comments and reaffirmed its commitment to creating an inclusive environment.
In a statement to Fox News, the district condemned all forms of hatred and violence and emphasized its ongoing efforts to promote equity, inclusion, and belonging within the school community.
“Dr. Clay submitted her resignation letter this morning, stating that she did not wish to distract from the work of the School Board or the District. Following the receipt of her resignation letter, we sent a message to the community to notify them of this development and to reiterate our commitment to creating a safe, inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff,” the statement read.
Despite resigning from the school board, Clay will continue her role as the Assistant Superintendent for the School District of Philadelphia, a fact that concerns many who do not think anything less than her resignation from the district would suffice.
An assistant superintendent in charge of teaching your children hates Jews for defending themselves. Resigns from school board but continues to be a superintendent. (nothing happened to her.)https://t.co/4EVUGTVWHz
— Jswarens (@jeff_swarens) November 20, 2023
Many parents were deeply concerned about the inflammatory nature of Clay’s remarks, with concerns that such comments could contribute to rising anti-Israel sentiments seen in various parts of the country.
One parent, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed concern about the impact of such comments on the community. “Her comments are the kind that easily stir frustration, and it gives me and my children a sense of worry as more and more anti-Israel sentiment is shared in different cities and states in the country,” they said.
“How will this board keep our children safe from the spread of antisemitism?” another parent told CBS News.
“When you are an elected official, you’re held to a higher standard and, yes your words do have consequences,” said Dave Vernacchio, while Marla Sones insisted the situation needs the intervention of the state.