Banner targets Princeton school board incumbents

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.”


  1. Hate and intimidation have no place in our community, and this confrontational approach is uncalled for. We should assume good faith of all incumbents. Likewise, it’s irresponsible for Board President Kendall to insinuate that challengers and their supporters in the BOE campaign are racists and homophobes.

    By the way, I am also Jewish. I was brought to the U.S. at age 8 from a country that created tyranny through labels and propaganda. I want no part in labeling, name calling or the like. I chose to run for BOE to help our children have the best education.

    1. Wait, didn’t Lisa Wu (in the forum held by a private citizen for the Asian community) question why the district is hiring so many Blacks? And didn’t you nod and say we need to think more broadly about diversity? Also didn’t you post things on Facebook before you were running for school board (and remove them after) supporting Trump and questioning the framing of the Jan. 6 insurrection, and tell people who asked you about this that you thought the country has bigger things to worry about than what happened on Jan. 6? You’ve also brought up your issues with the sex ed curriculum and anal sex in forums, have you not?

      1. Trump has nothing to do with our elections. Also, please stop referring to races/gender/religion!

  2. Let me guess, the Clausens are Republicans, yes. And 90% of Republican politicians are encouraging violence and lying, both silently, through social media, and in their think tanks, giving racists and ignorant people lots of room to cause more violence and spreading lies.

  3. The website is available, just type in nobkk.org without any prefix. It is not an anti-Jewish statement, but rather a misguided anti-Critical Race Theory statement, one that immediately undercuts any point it is trying to make by bringing in an absurd Fox News “documentary” clip. Junglien Chen, a common questioner and Princeton Parks and Recreation meetings, is the person that appears to be responsible for the website, and they were nice enough to put their email address there for you to contact them. Presumably they were the people that asked Clausen to take advantage of his parents property and place that banner.

  4. FYI, the first link in the website listed on the banner is for an organization promoting a right-wing version of “fairness” (characterizing white people as victims). The second is a Fox News video opposing Critical Race Theory being taught in schools.

  5. Yes, I was able to visited the website. Thanks for the update in the report. My questions are: Are the document/documentary true? If they are, what is wrong? The Foxnews documentary is actually very inspiring. Isn’t that what we supposed to see each other? Within a family and/or within a community? And finally, I don’t see the banner mentioning any particular groups, why is it necessary to bring that up in the article? If that has to be brought up, Rafalovsky is Jewish and Wu is from Taiwan. Why does that even matter abd Why does that even matter?

  6. I saw this banner earlier this afternoon. I didn’t know what was behind it but the headings, “Phony Equity-Gender Confusion-Reverse Racism” immediately stuck me as something MAGA Republicans or white supremacists would post. (There is no such thing as “reverse racism”!) If anything, it made me more inclined to vote for the incumbents. If Rafalovsky and Wu are not associated with the group that erected the banner, they should make this known. Who else benefits?
    (Note that in Rafalovsky’s comments on this story she never distanced herself from nbkk.org. She just used this an an opportunity to attack the BOE President.)
    Also: Thank you to “Princeton Rez” for the insight on Wu. I was not aware her history. Clearly, someone with these views should absolutely NOT be on the Board of Education!

  7. I’ll echo Princeton Rez- At the forum with the Asian American community (100 strong on zoom)Rita said the district only cares about one minority (Blacks) and when Lisa was calling on the board to not allow Black hires, Rita nodded in agreement. She has talked about how PPS should not teach students legally required curriculum about anal sex at several forums. She has told people she can’t bring herself to say “Bipoc”. Funny for a candidate running on transparency. Rita is as opaque as it gets.

  8. First, I would echo the question to the author about “all three being Jewish”. Are you implying that the banner or the site content is anti-semitic? If yes, you should give concrete evidence, if not – what was the point?

    Second, I don’t get the outrage in the comments. The guy has different views on schools and education, he has a decency to sign them with his name and gives concrete examples of what he’s campaigning against. E.g. this:

    “In the spring of 2021, Oak Park school officials held a number of “Parent University Sessions” to give parents a better idea of the district’s equity-related initiatives. One of these sessions was a two hour course on the importance of “whiteness as a social construct.”

    Putting MAGA labels on everything you disagree with seems childish.

  9. Using race as a wild card and people of color as pawns is RACIST

    MOST parents believe that teaching anal sex to young children IS child abuse

    Lisa did NOT ask that question. It was another attendee.

    Echoing Paul: labeling everyone you disagree with is irresponsible

    President Obama’s famous quotes: “Listen to those with whom you disagree.” “Feel Free to
    Disagree With Somebody, But Don’t Try to Just Shut Them Up”

    How about a civilized dialog?

  10. I’m glad Rita Rafalovsky pointed out in her comment that she is also Jewish — it’s the first thing that came to my mind when I read that sentence in the article. It’s unclear whether there is any evidence that the ethnic/religious background of the incumbents matters here, and none is provided, but more absurdly, one of the challengers, Rita Rafalovsky, is also Jewish. Planet Princeton is a great site and I expected better.

    A couple of questions for those who are outraged at the thought of this banner: Under what circumstances, if ever, is it ok to urge fellow citizens to vote out incumbents? You may not personally like your opponents’ views, but is it really impossible to imagine reasonable disagreement on issues related to equity, gender identity, etc in school? The incumbents and the school district have taken certain positions on these issues and in a democracy, you’d expect at least a minority to disagree. Are we not going to allow dissent?

  11. Where we can see the hate and racism from that banner? Why the link of this news report use “group” which is an assumption obviously by the editor. Which without been fact checked, then what’s the difference your claim with other conspiracy believer? Why some people will try to lead this suppose to be non partisan BOE into bipartisan political dog fight? That’s disgusting. If you think only the person agree with you should have the voice, then what’s the difference between democracy and dictatorship?

Comments are closed.