By: Todd Quinones
EVESHAM Twp., N.J. (AP) — A school board member from Evesham Township has resigned after complaints that she allegedly made a remark described by some as “anti-Semitic” (see related story).
The move comes somewhat as a surprise. Rosemary Bernardi previously said she would not resign, but this controversy would not just go away.
It was not only what Evesham School Board member Rosemary Bernardi allegedly said, but it was the way she said it that struck a deep nerve in this South Jersey community.
And now she has resigned, to the relief of Evesham Mayor Randy Brown.
“She made a decision which was best for the community. This community has been torn apart in the last three weeks,” Brown said.
Parent Sue Wilder, who is Jewish, was at the May 23rd school board meeting when the comments were made.
“It hits close to home and it just doesn’t affect me, it affects my children,” she said.
As we first reported last month, parents and fellow school board members were stunned when they heard what Bernardi said when she encouraged others to run for the school board.
This is what Sue Wilder claims Bernardi said: “that there are three seats up and there’s five Jews on the Board of Ed.’”
Bernardi previously apologized for the remark. She declined to be interviewed, but in a statement she said she was proud of the work she’s done of the school board for the past eight years.
“This local issue has become a distraction for the Board to fulfill its mission… There is an immediate need to shift the focus back onto the 4,700 public school children that we serve,” Bernardi’s statement read.
Bernardi also resigned from her position as the New Jersey School Board Association Vice President for Legislation.
Sandy Student is the Evesham Board of Education President.
“People across ethnicities, across religions have all come to the same conclusion, she lost her effectiveness and she needed to step aside and leave,” Student said.
Bernardi’s seat will now be up for election come November.
In the meantime the Board will appoint someone to fill the seat until the end of the year.