A Pennsylvania school board member has resigned after calling the Israeli army a “terrorist organization” on social media – but she will keep her job as an assistant superintendent in the Philadelphia school system.
Dr. Jamina Clay, who was elected to the Colonial Board of School Directors in 2021, had just been re-elected to the board when her offensive post caused local uproar and agreed to resign.
“As you all know, I recently published a post on my Facebook page in which I wanted to draw attention to the conflict in the Middle East,” Clay wrote in a now-deleted sycophantic missive on Facebook – the same platform on which she It also did earlier to denigrate the Israeli Defense Forces – on Thursday according to Fox News.
“As I reflect on this and have had conversations with loved ones and friends, I understand that my choice of words may have caused harm to many and the impact was not what I intended. This post has been removed,” said Clay, assistant superintendent of the Philadelphia School District, where she oversees 10 schools.
“Due to the pain my position has caused, I have resigned my seat on the Colonial School Board, effective immediately,” she said.
“I understand that the district needs to heal from the painful words I have chosen, and it is best to do so in my absence. The board is ready to move forward and I hope the community is able to do so as well since I no longer hold this seat.”
Clay then noted that she would continue to do her job at the school.
“I apologize again for the post I made and hope to learn something from this situation,” she said. “I will continue to pray for peace in the Middle East.”
The apology came just a day after Clay posted on Facebook: “The terrorist organization known to many as the IDF is currently targeting a hospital.
“The world is watching the Palestinian people being eliminated.”
The post quickly sparked backlash from the local Jewish community, many of whom voiced their concerns at a school board meeting Thursday night — just hours after Clay submitted her resignation.
Andrew Goretsky, a local parent who serves as regional director of the Anti-Defamation League Philadelphia, said he found Clay’s post not only offensive but also “negligent as an educator.”
Spencer Yablon said the “despicable views” in Clay’s post “bring to the surface what Jews have always felt – that anti-Semitism is all around us,” according to the newspaper Philadelphia Investigators.
Rabbi Glenn Ettman added: “The most important thing that stands out as harmful, not just hurtful but harmful, is the designation of the Israel Defense Forces as a terrorist organization.”
“Words matter,” he said said NBC PhiladelphiaPHello. “Words have influence, and certainly words that come from people who are elected officials have even more weight because of the position they hold.”
In a statement, Beth Patruno, school district president, said: “We recognize that members of our community have been blessed by Dr. Clay’s comments are hurtful.”
“This is unacceptable in our school district, where we pride ourselves on creating a culture of belonging,” she said said CBS News.
The Colonial School District released a statement saying it had received Clay’s resignation letter, noting that her “post was offensive to many and resulted in numerous emails calling for her resignation or criticism.” as well as a call for many to attend the school board meeting tonight to voice their concerns.
“DR. Clay tendered her resignation this morning, stating that she does not want to distract from the work of the school board or district,” the statement said, according to Fox News.
“Upon receipt of her resignation letter, we sent a message to the community to inform them of this development and reiterate our commitment to creating a safe, inclusive environment for students, faculty and staff.
“The Colonial School District prides itself on fostering a sense of belonging,” it continued. “Each year, all of our schools work hard to maintain their No Place for Hate Schools designation through our partnership with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and participate in many other initiatives and programs designed to promote equity, inclusion and belonging .
“We condemn all forms of hate and violence and remind everyone that we offer counseling services to anyone who may be struggling.”
Superintendent Michael Christian said Clay’s post was “offensive to many and as a school board member, this is unacceptable in a district that prides itself on cultivating a sense of belonging.”
Philadelphia School District spokeswoman Monique Braxton said the district’s free speech policy – which states: “Employees are protected by the First Amendment when speaking on a matter of public interest that is not part of their job duties” – for Clay’s post stands.
Nevertheless, “the ones in Dr. “The views and opinions expressed in Clay’s Facebook post do not reflect the position, opinion or views of the School District of Philadelphia,” Braxton added.
The representative noted that the district’s policy on social media use by employees states that disciplinary action can be taken if an employee’s use of social media “harms the reputation of the School District of Philadelphia as an educational institution” or “negatively impacts the abilities.” of an employee”. to carry out his/her duties effectively.”