The Upper Moreland School Board reportedly rejected a candidate for board president after a board member said that electing a “cis, white male” as president would contradict the board’s goals and send the wrong message.
Greg D’Elia and April Stainback were the two candidates for the presidential position in the Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, school district. However, D’Elia lost the vote after Upper Moreland Board member and Treasurer Jennifer Solot expressed her opposition to the prospect of him being elected president.
While she said she believes that D’Elia would make an “excellent president,” she suggested that “electing the only cis, white male president of the board of this district” will send the wrong message about the board to the public.
Cisgender is a term that refers to people who identify with the sex assigned to them at birth. To Solot, the fact that D’Elia was born a male and identifies as a male is a problem.
PA school board member refuses to vote for 'cis white male' for president: 'wrong message' https://t.co/OnY5c6MIiv pic.twitter.com/yNsKVKZPCO
— New York Post (@nypost) December 12, 2022
According to the treasurer, who led the meeting as acting president pending the election of a new president, the message D’Elia as president would pass across is the exact opposite of what the board has been trying to accomplish. “I think it’s important that we practice what we preach, and that our words have strength when they are spoken, whether we speak them from the neighborhood sidewalks or from behind these tables,” she stated.
Solot further endorsed Stainback, who she says has “done an exemplary job as president these last few months.”
By the time the board members finished voting, April Steinback had the upper hand by a vote of 8-1. The one vote D’Elia had was one he cast for himself. Even the board member who nominated him for the position in the first place had changed his mind.
Even though Solot believes electing a white president would send the wrong message, Upper Moreland’s current student body majorly consists of white students, as 76% of the students are Whites, per Public School Review.
D’Elia’s interest in the school board reportedly grew when one of his three children struggled with school. With the help of the school’s guidance staff, he was able to get the kid the IEP special education resources he needed.
He had hoped to streamline the process in the district for other families as his goals for running for the board president included improving access to special services for students like his kid whose parents might not be familiar with the special education process. However, those dreams would have to take a break with his race and “normal gender” standing in the way.
Solot’s commentary has attracted criticisms online as many have accused her of “racism” and “sexism.” In a Facebook post, local political commentator Joe Rittenhouse called the comments “a sexist, racist tirade on camera attacking people on their fitness to be elected school board president based on skin color, sexual orientation, and gender.”
He added that her position reflects poorly not only on her district but also on the value of public education as a whole.
Rittenhouse further called for her resignation with the support of Twitter users who are also asking for her to get sued.
Jennifer Solot is on tape with racist comments. Sue her. #lawsuit
— Superstar Van (@TheSuperstarVan) December 12, 2022