New Jersey School Board member Daniel Leonard refuses to resign after targeting Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib on Facebook, claiming his “life would be complete if she/they die.”
What We Know:
- The Toms River Board of Education member posted multiple racist posts to his Facebook page in April calling Omar a terrorist and sharing Islamophobic slurs and ads.
- His page gained attention when a citizen brought them to the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) this week, who subsequently called on Leonard to resign.
- The New Jersey school board held a meeting Wednesday for community members to share concerns about Leonard’s posts. Throughout the meeting Leonard interrupted speakers to defend his posts, claiming the Tlaib post was in response to her attempts to shut down a federal agency of the government, refusing to acknowledge the post is offensive to Muslims and not just to Tlaib. Community members at the meeting claim Leonard was “being rather belligerent” and smirking as more than a dozen community members raised concerns about the post.
- Toms River Regional school board President Joseph Nardini additionally asked Leonard to resign from the board in a letter to the school community Thursday for the sake of the students’ educational experience, though he emphasized the letter was coming from him personally, not the entire board. School Board Attorney Stephan R. Leone said Leonard’s Facebook posts are “totally inappropriate, not condoned by the Board of Education, and do not reflect the board’s attitude or opinions.”
Leonard continues to refuse to resign even after Nardini’s letter; “I truly respect Joe Nardini and the superintendent and the position the school district has been put in. Respectfully, I’m not resigning,” Leonard said.