N.J. school district apologizes for ‘inflammatory’ message about Israel, Ramadan

It is mind boggling that this stuff happens in our towns.  I hope whoever approved or distributed this crap is seriously disciplined, at the very least.  No excuse for this.  


it wasn't an official school communication and an apology has been issued.

was only distributed to staff

the person who distributed it apparently did not read the thing closely and actually disagrees with the circled section

i.e. it was a mistake

relax

https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/ramadan-flyer-maplewood-nj-school-district/5218092/


I checked out the website, where the really ill advised resource came from.

https://www.teachingwhilemuslim.org/classroom-resources

A couple of the other resources are available, including one with almost the exact same title as the offensive resource. The other resources don’t have any language remotely like the really inflammatory passage highlighted above. I don’t think anyone would be offended by, for instance, the one entitled “eight considerations for the classroom.” 

I actually looked at this site when I first read the emails for the distribution of the resource. I just looked now because I was curious if they still had the resource with the inflammatory passage. It is interesting to note that they actually now have two versions of that resource with the passage included.

While I agree that this was a mistake, it strikes me as a very foolish one. I’m glad that the school district is making an effort to educate the student on diverse, religious backgrounds. but it really surprises me that a resource regarding any religion would be distributed within the school district without very careful review.

drummerboy you and I are usually very much in agreement on a lot of things. But I do think you might be a bit dismissive of the seriousness of this oversight. I don’t think there is a teacher in this district who would be opposed to basic education about Ramadan for their students. But try to imagine being a Jewish staff member and reading that that paragraph. I know it was not considered an official school communication, but it was distributed by a member of the administration. So I agree that some corrective action needs to be taken.


Thanks for the link.  After taking a brief look, this statement is disingenuous at best:   "The document was not reviewed or approved by any district office or personnel, and while the intention of sharing the document was to provide a resource, serious content was overlooked," Gilbert wrote.  No one in the administration took a look at the website?  The website's politics are clearly visible on the topmost banner on the front page.  This should have resulted in a careful review to ensure that any information provided to students would be purely cultural in nature, without political bias. 

The article below is about the creators of the website, whose names I was unable to find on the website itself.  I wonder if the originators are still involved.  https://www.rutgers.edu/news/teaching-while-muslim

Drummerboy, the conflict in Gaza has created an atmosphere of divisiveness unlike any I have ever seen in the 15 years I've been living in Maplewood.  Institutions need to preserve the peace as best as they can, not add fuel to the conflagration.  


so very very pleased we opted out of this dysfunctional school district.  

worth. every. penny.


As a general matter, I abhor the expression of opinions in strident rigid doctrinaire ways.  People who think that's a way to communicate ideas to students should not be allowed to work in a school system.   


Elle_Cee said:

Thanks for the link.  After taking a brief look, this statement is disingenuous at best:   "The document was not reviewed or approved by any district office or personnel, and while the intention of sharing the document was to provide a resource, serious content was overlooked," Gilbert wrote.  No one in the administration took a look at the website?  The website's politics are clearly visible on the topmost banner on the front page.  This should have resulted in a careful review to ensure that any information provided to students would be purely cultural in nature, without political bias. 

The article below is about the creators of the website, whose names I was unable to find on the website itself.  I wonder if the originators are still involved.  https://www.rutgers.edu/news/teaching-while-muslim

Drummerboy, the conflict in Gaza has created an atmosphere of divisiveness unlike any I have ever seen in the 15 years I've been living in Maplewood.  Institutions need to preserve the peace as best as they can, not add fuel to the conflagration.  

yes. I understand that.

but this was a mistake by one careless person, wasn't it? the "institution" was not at fault. the statement doesn't look disingenuous to me at all. it appears that no one in the administration was aware of the flyer, so why should someone have looked at the website?


drummerboy said:

yes. I understand that.

but this was a mistake by one careless person, wasn't it? the "institution" was not at fault. the statement doesn't look disingenuous to me at all. it appears that no one in the administration was aware of the flyer, so why should someone have looked at the website?

A member of the administration distributed the flyer.  So obviously, that person knew about it.  From what I have read, it is being said the person who distributed the flyer did not read it first.  If true, given the content, that is irresponsible, more so given the tension in the community as a result of the Israel/Gaza War.  


West Orange is having their share of problems since the war in Gaza. Much more than mapso. 


joan_crystal said:

drummerboy said:

yes. I understand that.

but this was a mistake by one careless person, wasn't it? the "institution" was not at fault. the statement doesn't look disingenuous to me at all. it appears that no one in the administration was aware of the flyer, so why should someone have looked at the website?

A member of the administration distributed the flyer.  So obviously, that person knew about it.  From what I have read, it is being said the person who distributed the flyer did not read it first.  If true, given the content, that is irresponsible, more so given the tension in the community as a result of the Israel/Gaza War.  

yes, my mistake for not being specific enough. clearly though it was not released as an official communication of the school. it was a single employee and of course they were irresponsible. that's why I called it a mistake.


drummerboy said:

yes, my mistake for not being specific enough. clearly though it was not released as an official communication of the school. it was a single employee and of course they were irresponsible. that's why I called it a mistake.

Unless it was intentional.  We really don't know.  Even unintentional does significant damage given the present climate here.


I think that folks may be overlooking the fact that it appears that it was not provided by TWM, but by a program at Montclair State to which the District subscribes.  It truly appears to have been inadvertent.  Let's show some grace and move on.  


Steve said:

I think that folks may be overlooking the fact that it appears that it was not provided by TWM, but by a program at Montclair State to which the District subscribes.  It truly appears to have been inadvertent.  Let's show some grace and move on.  

I didn’t see that bit of info. 

I can see it being inadvertent. I mean, there are two resources on the same page. One is called “8 classroom considerations for Ramadan” (innocuous, informative) and literally the next link down is “9 classroom considerations for Ramadan” (inflammatory, insensitive). 


Steve said:

I think that folks may be overlooking the fact that it appears that it was not provided by TWM, but by a program at Montclair State to which the District subscribes.  It truly appears to have been inadvertent.  Let's show some grace and move on.  

Here is the thing - I think it is absolutely a core responsibility of district leaders to actually know the content of materials they are sending out for instructional use, and ideally to get them approved by the appropriate curriculum or equity committee.

Sending out something on a potentially controversial topic without either reading it all the way through OR having it vetted by the correct committee is a mistake, but it isn't an innocuous mistake. I see it as a significant failure to do his job correctly. 

Not as bad as being actively antisemitic, but still a rather poor reflection on his talent as an administrator, so I'm not too quick to "show grace and move on".  I see it as a black mark on his record, to be part of how he is assessed on his performance. 

And, if we are paying money to Montclair State to provide this sort of inflammatory material, that feels like a very easy first cut to make to make a small reduction in our looming budget deficit.


Where is the link to Montclair State?  Is it somewhere in Teaching While Muslim?  


Do we know, are we sure it was one administrator who reviews stuff? In Jersey City, papers go through several hands before teachers see them. That process was streamlined when it was pointed out that some outside papers featured events that had expired by the time they passed the review system and got to teachers' mailboxes.

Do we know if the paper reviewer is Jewish? 

Oh, and what should be the consequences, if we can attach blame to one administrator? A severe reprimand? Or just a plain, old-fashioned reprimand? How 'bout 10 days unpaid leave. Or courts martial, followed by reduction in rank to classroom teacher?


susan1014 said:

Steve said:

I think that folks may be overlooking the fact that it appears that it was not provided by TWM, but by a program at Montclair State to which the District subscribes.  It truly appears to have been inadvertent.  Let's show some grace and move on.  

Here is the thing - I think it is absolutely a core responsibility of district leaders to actually know the content of materials they are sending out for instructional use, and ideally to get them approved by the appropriate curriculum or equity committee.

Sending out something on a potentially controversial topic without either reading it all the way through OR having it vetted by the correct committee is a mistake, but it isn't an innocuous mistake. I see it as a significant failure to do his job correctly. 

Not as bad as being actively antisemitic, but still a rather poor reflection on his talent as an administrator, so I'm not too quick to "show grace and move on".  I see it as a black mark on his record, to be part of how he is assessed on his performance. 

And, if we are paying money to Montclair State to provide this sort of inflammatory material, that feels like a very easy first cut to make to make a small reduction in our looming budget deficit.

you've got a lone employee who made a bad (and sloppy) decision, on their own, and it's a significant failure of the principal?

if the employee acted on their own, how could he have possibly prevented this?

how much hand holding is he supposed to do?

I don't understand.


drummerboy said:

susan1014 said:

Steve said:

I think that folks may be overlooking the fact that it appears that it was not provided by TWM, but by a program at Montclair State to which the District subscribes.  It truly appears to have been inadvertent.  Let's show some grace and move on.  

Here is the thing - I think it is absolutely a core responsibility of district leaders to actually know the content of materials they are sending out for instructional use, and ideally to get them approved by the appropriate curriculum or equity committee.

Sending out something on a potentially controversial topic without either reading it all the way through OR having it vetted by the correct committee is a mistake, but it isn't an innocuous mistake. I see it as a significant failure to do his job correctly. 

Not as bad as being actively antisemitic, but still a rather poor reflection on his talent as an administrator, so I'm not too quick to "show grace and move on".  I see it as a black mark on his record, to be part of how he is assessed on his performance. 

And, if we are paying money to Montclair State to provide this sort of inflammatory material, that feels like a very easy first cut to make to make a small reduction in our looming budget deficit.

you've got a lone employee who made a bad (and sloppy) decision, on their own, and it's a significant failure of the principal?

if the employee acted on their own, how could he have possibly prevented this?

how much hand holding is he supposed to do?

I don't understand.

The Assistant Principal is the one who sent it out. So yes, it is his significant failure.  


susan1014 said:

drummerboy said:

susan1014 said:

Steve said:

I think that folks may be overlooking the fact that it appears that it was not provided by TWM, but by a program at Montclair State to which the District subscribes.  It truly appears to have been inadvertent.  Let's show some grace and move on.  

Here is the thing - I think it is absolutely a core responsibility of district leaders to actually know the content of materials they are sending out for instructional use, and ideally to get them approved by the appropriate curriculum or equity committee.

Sending out something on a potentially controversial topic without either reading it all the way through OR having it vetted by the correct committee is a mistake, but it isn't an innocuous mistake. I see it as a significant failure to do his job correctly. 

Not as bad as being actively antisemitic, but still a rather poor reflection on his talent as an administrator, so I'm not too quick to "show grace and move on".  I see it as a black mark on his record, to be part of how he is assessed on his performance. 

And, if we are paying money to Montclair State to provide this sort of inflammatory material, that feels like a very easy first cut to make to make a small reduction in our looming budget deficit.

you've got a lone employee who made a bad (and sloppy) decision, on their own, and it's a significant failure of the principal?

if the employee acted on their own, how could he have possibly prevented this?

how much hand holding is he supposed to do?

I don't understand.

The Assistant Principal is the one who sent it out. So yes, it is his significant failure.  

ok - wasn't sure who you were referring to. I thought you were talking about the principal.


The assistant principal should be removed, in my opinion. I can easily see the principal being questioned about this. With the current political climate these issues will influence the outcome of the Presidential election.

As a former teacher, I have seen staff disciplined for far less. You do not hand out material that hasn't been read thoroughly and approved.



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