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This is an op-ed from Susan Lombardo and Sue Ferrara, current Hamilton school board members, regarding the candidacy of Nicholas Ferrara for Hamilton School Board. Nicholas Ferrara (no relation to Sue Ferrara) wrote sentiments on Facebook like, “I’m ALL FOR executive of the maxist/communists jews” who are “satan fuckers.” After media attention, Ferrara said he’d drop out of the race. Here, Lombardo and Sue Ferrara urge the two other candidates, Stacy Byrne and Monica Quaste who ran with him on a slate called “Traditional Education Advocates,” to drop out as well. Yesterday Byrne and Quaste released a statement to the Trentonian apologizing for “not properly vetting” Ferrara’s history of anti-Semitism, racism, and homophobia and promising to run a fair campaign. As of this moment, Ferrara has yet to formally drop out.
While the two of us are members of the Hamilton Township Board of Education, we are only writing for ourselves here and not the board as a whole. The recent news reports regarding vile and hateful comments made by school board candidate Nick Ferrara compel us to write.
First, Dr. Ferrara needs to note she is not related to Nick Ferrara, lead member of the slate of candidates called Traditional Education Advocates (TEA), a slate of three which also includes Stacy Byrne and Monica Quaste.
We agree with Mr. Ferrara’s decision to remove himself from the race for a board seat, because such hateful rhetoric is unbecoming and disqualifying for a candidate who wants to serve a school community. We call on Byrne and Quaste to do the same.
As board members, we serve a very diverse Hamilton community. Nick Ferrara’s extreme views, both in social media posts and at public meetings, have caused harm to this community. He has been attending board meetings since January of this year and has called board members and teachers Marxists, pedophiles and groomers. He has made disparaging remarks about our LGBTQ+ neighbors. At the most recent board meeting in August, he disparaged students of color by suggesting they were being moved to district schools in order to diminish school achievement.
Byrne and Quaste, in a statement to The Trentonian, said “We deplore, condemn and abhor these vile, hateful, decisive comments and have demanded Nick step down and he has.” Byrne previously told The Trentonian, and Quaste posted on her Facebook page that they had no idea Ferrara held such views. Yet they have been at those very board meetings where Ferrara has heckled the board, threatened to hold protests at our homes, and in one instance, telling us when he got elected to Congress, he would be back to get us. How could Byrne and Quaste sit through meetings and then claim they had no idea Ferrara was an extremist?
As board members, we are continually called upon to analyze and consider issues in the interest of others. Mrs. Burns and Mrs. Quaste, take your hollow words and turn them into deeds. Step down with Ferrara. All three of you need to leave the race.