Target: Michael Lilonsky, President of the Marlboro School Board
Goal: Fire school board member who called accepting Muslim holidays “opening Pandora’s Box.”
Victoria Dean, the Vice President of New Jersey’s Marlboro Township Public School Board, reportedly called public schools honoring Muslim holidays the opening of “Pandora’s Box” and is facing calls to resign over it. Someone who espouses attitudes such as these should not be in a position of authority over schools that serve students of all different cultural backgrounds. Demand that the school board fire her at once for her bigoted beliefs.
Dean reportedly made the comment on her Facebook page, under an article she posted about how a Connecticut school district had begun to officially recognize two Muslim holidays. In addition to fearmongering over this mundane and long overdue educational issue, though, Dean also “liked” a comment someone left on her post that read, “Because America isn’t America anymore! its [sic] run by foreigners including this RAG HEAD PRESIDENT!”
Dean’s apparent attitudes are reflective of the anti-Muslim bias that infects so much of American culture and that has directly led to an increase in hate crimes against Muslim Americans. Given her biases, she cannot be trusted to fulfill her duties on the school board impartially.
Many Marlboro residents have already called for Dean’s resignation, but so far she has stood her ground, and the rest of the school board is supporting her. Sign the petition below to demand that the school board do the right thing and remove Dean from her position.
Dear President Lilonsky,
I am writing you today regarding the controversy that has erupted over Vice President Victoria Dean’s anti-Muslim comments. The latest reports on the issue indicate that Dean is still on the board and does not want to step down. I demand that you do the right thing and fire her.
The Islamophobic prejudices behind Vice President Dean’s comments are, unfortunately, not all that uncommon in America these days. Indeed, the fact that you and the rest of the school board are willing to look past her remarks and keep her on as vice president may be a product of those common prejudices as well. The wide cultural acceptance of these prejudices, however, does not mean that they are okay or should be tolerated.
Islamophobia is a serious problem that has led to an uptick in anti-Muslim hate crimes against Americans in the years since September 11. Comments that uphold this culture of fear around Islam, especially ostensibly casual comments like Dean’s, are inherently dangerous.
As a school board, you and your colleagues need to hold yourselves to a standard befitting those with local control of America’s public school system—that includes denouncing racism, prejudice, and bigotry in all its forms. I demand that you do this and fire Vice President Dean immediately for her insensitive comments.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: strngwrldfrwl from Japan via Flickr