By Todd Quinones
MARLTON, N.J. (CBS) – A school board member from Evesham is under fire for allegedly making a remark described by some as “anti-Semitic.”
Some people are calling for the school board member to resign while others plan on filing a complaint with the New Jersey Department of Education.
In an email sent to parents Wednesday, the president of the Evesham Township Board of Education called the alleged remarks highly offensive.
Parents allege it’s not only what Rosemary Bernardi said, but it was the way she said it that was so offensive if not anti-Semitic.
“I think everybody was offended. I don’t think [it matters] if you are Jewish or not Jewish,” parent Nichole Stone said.
“I was shocked. I was so upset my whole body was shaking,” parent Sue Wilder said.
According to people we talked to who say they were at last week’s Evesham Township’s Board of Education meeting, Bernardi who is a board member reminded people about a deadline to run for school board, before saying:
“’And that there are three seats up, and there’s five Jews on the Board of Ed,’” Wilder said.
“I looked at my wife and said, ‘Did she just say what I thought she said?’ and my wife was furious,” parent Marc Cohen said.
“She said, ‘There’s three seats available for election in November. We have five Jews on the board,’” Evesham Township Board of Education member Dave Silver said.
“I’m hurt. This is something painful for me, being identified as a Jewish school board member versus someone who has volunteered countless hours,” Silver said.
The comments were allegedly made after the board decided to move the start of the next school year from Friday, September 6th which falls during Rosh Hashanah, to Monday, September 9th so that Jewish students wouldn’t miss the first day of school.
Silver says Bernardi voted against the idea.
Efforts to interview her were unsuccessful, but she did email an apology and posted on her Facebook page:
“Categorizing individuals on the basis of their religion, race, gender, or sexual orientation has no place in our society, and most especially in our public discourse.”
Bernardi indicates she has no plans on resigning and called this a “teachable moment” she can learn from.
On Thursday, Talk Radio 1210 WPHT’s Dick Morris and Gary R’nel spoke with Board of Education President Sandy Student and Mayor Randy Brown.
“I believe that anyone would find this a reprehensible remark. It’s something you that don’t say in the course of public discussion, and there is no need for it,” said Student.
“The comments made by her were beyond unacceptable,” said Brown. “I’ve asked for her immediate resignation.”
Listen to the full Talk Radio 1210 WPHT interview: