A Pennsylvania school board member who refused to endorse the position of the board’s “only cis white male” president has resigned after his comments sparked anger.
Jennifer Solot told the Upper Moreland School District meeting in Philadelphia that she could not support Greg D’Elia as president.
Solot, the school board’s treasurer, who led the meeting until a new president was elected, said it would “send the wrong message” to elect D’Elia over April Stainback.
“I believe Mr. D’Elia would make a great president,” she said on Dec. 6.
“However, I feel that electing the only cis white male to this district board sends the wrong message to our community: a message contrary to what we as a council have been trying to accomplish. “
On Monday, Stainback – who was elected president – and Dr. Susan Elliott, the superintendent, said Solot had resigned.
Treasurer Jennifer Solot told the Upper Moreland School District meeting Dec. 6 that she would not vote for the board’s “only white cis male” as president. Monday she quit
Greg D’Elia lost the vote to April Stainback 1-8 despite the father-of-three previously serving as the area school principal and having the support of area Democrats in previous races.
Solot will step down in January.
“She wishes to apologize for her ill-chosen words and does not want to be a distraction from the great things that happen daily in our schools,” Stainbeck and Elliott wrote.
“The comments made by Ms. Solot at the board reorganization meeting were hers alone and were not intended to represent the opinion of the entire UMSD Board of Directors or the District as a whole.
“Indeed, Board Director Greg D’Elia, who was the subject of his comments, says he ‘supports diversity, but those comments did not promote diversity and went wrong. reflected in our community. “
They said Solot’s comments were discrimination and could not be tolerated in their school district.
“We value the full diversity of the community we serve and support all students and staff to succeed without discrimination based on race, color, age, creed, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ancestry, national origin, marital status, pregnancy, disability or gender identity,” they wrote.
D’Elia has lived in the Upper Moreland area for about 15 years and is the father of three children, two of whom currently attend schools in Upper Moreland.
“Similarly, in all staffing positions in the district, we hire the most qualified person for the position and do not discriminate.”
Solot, in her December 6 remarks, said she thought Stainback was the best candidate.
‘Mrs. Stainback has done an exemplary job as President over the past few months, and the strength of her performance earned her my vote tonight,” she said.
Stainback beat D’Elia – a father of three who previously served as an area school principal and who in previous races had the support of area Democrats – 8-1.
Solot’s comment was met with anger, accusing the mother and school board member of “racism” and asking if there was “a petition for Jennifer Solot to resign.’
Self-proclaimed local political commentator Joe Rittenhouse wrote on Facebook that Solot’s statement “misrepresents the district and public education values.”
He called his comments a “sexist and racist on-camera tirade attacking people about their suitability for being elected school board president based on skin color, sexual orientation and gender.”
“I believe that Mr. D’Elia would make an excellent president. However, I think the election of the only cis white male to be president of this district board of directors sends the wrong message to our community,’ said board treasurer Jennifer Solot.
‘Shame on Jennifer Solot. Resign,” he wrote.
Solot’s comments were followed by new board member Sarah Byrnes, who paused to say, “It’s very hard to do as a new person on the board”, before casting her vote for Ms Stainback.
Rose Huber also hesitated before finally voting for Stainback, a mother of five who has also served as a school principal in the area.
D’Elia, an active community member, has lived in the Upper Moreland area for approximately 15 years and is the father of three children, two of whom attend Upper Moreland schools.
He said his interest in the school board grew after one of his children started having difficulty in class with the school “and had a really bad experience”.
His experience securing resources for his child’s special education inspired him to run for office to “improve access to special services for students.”
During his 2019 campaign for the post of school principal, his platform revolved around “the importance of education” and the belief that it is “the responsibility of the whole community to educate the next generation.
As a mechanical engineer by training, D’Elia is committed to presenting his professional perspective to “gather data to make decisions and use resources most efficiently”.