District officials confirmed to The Sun that long-time board member Jeffrey Simpler submitted his resignation on Friday, July 3. His resignation came after an insensitive post was made on Simpler’s personal Facebook page.
A screenshot of the post showed a link to a news story that ran on the website for ABC7, a television news station in New York City. The story was posted on the station’s website on June 27 and discusses a recent uptick on gun violence in New York City. Above the link, Simpler allegedly wrote the following:
“Well, there is one way to stop this (expletive) since they seem to wanna keep it up,” Simpler’s post read. “As much as I hate to say this. Stay out of the way and let them kill each other, sooner or later they will run out of other Black people to kill.”
Simpler’s post was shared on numerous social media group pages, including Black Lives Matter – South Jersey and South Jersey Women for Progressive Change, drawing criticism from dozens of community members. Following this, another post was written on Simpler’s Facebook page acknowledging he took down the post “after reading how it was worded and sounded” and announcing he intended to resign his seat on the board.
“…as much as it hurts me to say this, I am not going to allow a single post define my career and life,” Simpler wrote. “Nor will I put my family through this. So for all of you who believe in me and supported me for all of my runs for the school board, I thank you and it was my honor to serve you all. With that said, I will not allow this district or this board to be given a black eye over an innocent way that I worded a post. I am resigning my seat on the Monroe Township Board of Education.”
Simpler’s profile and his posts are no longer active on Facebook.
On Monday afternoon, Monroe Township Public Schools released a statement regarding the incident.
“We have been made aware that a former board member made very troubling public comments on social media,” the district’s statement read. “It is important our community realize these comments do not reflect the Monroe Township Public Schools and the board of education. While it is sad that a statement is necessary, given the sentiments that were expressed, the Monroe Township Public Schools and the board of education stand for equality, integrity, and most of all, racial equity.”
Check back with The Williamstown Sun later this week for more information on this story.