A large white banner was placed on private property at the corner of Valley Road and Ewing Street across from the Princeton Shopping Center Tuesday morning that reads: “Phony equity. Gender confusion. Reverse racism. Eagerly approved by the board of education.”
The banner targets the incumbent school board members running for the Princeton Board of Education, calling on the voters of Princeton to vote them out. All three women are Jewish.
Three incumbents and two newcomers are seeking the three seats available on the school board for three-year terms. The incumbents are Dafna Kendal, Deb Bronfeld, and Susan Kanter. The newcomers are Rita Rafalovsky and Lisa Wu.
The banner is another example of how schools have become targets for the country’s culture wars, with part of those battles playing out in the local board of education races that will be decided in the Nov. 8 election.
As of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, no one had publicly come forward to acknowledge responsibility for the banner, which was cut down by a member of the public later Tuesday morning. A website is listed on the banner, but as of 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, the website was not live. The domain was registered on Oct. 27, according to the ICANN domain registry lookup service. The registrant later removed their name to make it private. The website went live at about 1 p.m. Resident Junglien Chen is the author of posts on the website.
The property where the large banner was placed is owned by the Clausen family. Planet Princeton reached John Clausen, son of the property owner, on the phone on Tuesday morning. Clausen, who lives in Plainsboro, said he was aware of the sign, and that someone asked for permission to place it a few months ago. Asked about the content of the sign, he only said “maybe the sign is saying something.” The property is owned by John H. and Catherine Clausen, who are both 89, according to public records.
A post on the website targets Superintendent of Schools Carol Kelly, who is Black, and claims Kelly “wholeheartedly implemented the agendas” of phony equity, gender confusion, and reverse racism when she worked in the Pal Park Elementary School in Illinois.
Asked for her reaction to the banner, School Board President Dafna Kendal expressed outrage and said the Princeton community does not tolerate hate. “Hate has no home here,” Kendal said. “There’s been a troubling undercurrent of racism and anti-LGBTQ sentiment throughout the campaign. I’m disgusted by the message.”