Religion

School Board Member Told To Resign Over Islamophobia

| by Diana Kruzman
Elmwood Park Board of Education Trustee Gladys GryskiewiczElmwood Park Board of Education Trustee Gladys Gryskiewicz

A New Jersey school board member is facing calls to resign after posting a series of anti-Muslim comments to her Facebook page.

Gladys Gryskiewicz, a Board of Education trustee in Elmwood Park, wrote several Facebook posts in January and February calling for Muslims to "[s]tay in your [deserts] and follow your religion in your own countries," according to New Jersey On-Line.

"The French told them to get lost and this is what our President should do," another post said. "Go back to your own country; America needs to get rid of people like you."

Assemblyman Gary Schaer joined two of Gryskiewicz’s fellow school board members, several members of the state legislature and the Council on American-Islamic Relations in New Jersey in demanding Gryskiewicz’s resignation. Schaer said that although the remarks made were Gryskiewicz’s personal opinion, she still had to stay within a code of conduct that doesn’t include targeting people of the Muslim faith.

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"The comments that have repeatedly surfaced online by Ms. Gryskiewicz are wildly inappropriate and completely unbefitting of a member of a public school board or any elected or appointed office holder, for that matter," Schaer said in a statement, according to New Jersey On-Line.

State Sen. Nellie Pou echoed Schaer’s statements, emphasizing that Gryskiewicz’s position as an elected official placed her in the public eye and thus required that she refrain from expressing discriminatory sentiments, even on her personal Facebook page.

"There is no place in our schools for the type of discriminatory and hateful remarks made by Ms. Gryskiewicz," Pou said. “At a time when we need to be teaching acceptance and understanding to our students, her conduct sends the exact wrong message."

Gryskiewicz’s lawyer acknowledged that Gryskiewicz wrote the posts, but said that she would not resign from the school board. Gryskiewicz, who ran unopposed for the position, took office in January.

Sources: New Jersey On-Line (2) / Photo credit: Mitsu Yasukawa/The Record

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