Published On: Sat, Dec 3rd, 2016

New Hope-Solebury School Board Director Blasted By Solebury Supervisor for Facebook Post that Reportedly ‘Threatens Violence’

NH-S School Board Member Douglas J. McDonough.

NH-S School Board Member Douglas J. McDonough.

Solebury Supervisor Helen Tai lambasted New Hope-Solebury School Board Director Douglas J. McDonough Saturday for making “a post on Facebook that essentially threatens violence to anyone who is willing to stand up for others.”

In a letter to New Hope-Solebury parents, Tai urged those concerned to contact NH-S Superintendent Stephen Yanni, who has reportedly been inundated with email on the matter.

She also called on local residents to attend Monday night’s school board meeting, where community activist Sarah Bergenfield will read a letter to the board demanding an apology or resignation from McDonough, and an assurance that the Facebook post in question is an “aberration and not typical of Mr. McDonough’s behavior.”

McDonough was not immediately available for comment.

The full text of both communications follows verbatim:

Letter from Helen Tai: No Tolerance for Hate on New Hope-Solebury School Board

A couple weeks ago, the Solebury Township Board of Supervisors made a public statement of inclusion. We made this statement in light of hateful and illegal acts that were occurring all over the country following the election. I find it incredibly unfortunate that such a statement is even necessary in 2016. We all want to believe that the hateful acts occurring across our country couldn’t possibly happen here.

Now it has come to my attention that Douglas McDonough, a New Hope-Solebury School Board member, has made a post on Facebook that essentially threatens violence to anyone who is willing to stand up for others;

As elected officials, we are expected to be role models for the community and to hold ourselves to a higher standard. Mr. McDonough has done the opposite by inciting bullying and violence and demonstrating a lack of respect for diversity and inclusion.

We can not tolerate this type of behavior from one of our elected officials, and certainly not one who has the authority to make decisions for our students. You don’t have to be a parent of a NH-S student to be outraged. If we want to live in a community of inclusion, then EACH OF US MUST TAKE ACTION.

Please contact our school board and superintendent stating that this type of behavior is unacceptable. You may also wish to express your feelings at the school board meeting this Monday, December 5th at 6:30 PM at the Upper Elementary School  LGI (Cafeteria) Room.

Email addresses:

  • Superintendent Steve Yanni:  syanni@nhsd.org, 215-862-5372
  • School Board: schoolboard@nhsd.org to send a group email or click here for individual director addresses; 215-862-5372 ext. 3293

Respectfully,

Helen Tai

*******

To Dr. Stephen Yanni and the members of the New Hope Solebury School Board from Sarah Bergenfield:

On Thursday December 1st, Douglas McDonough, a member of the school board, published this post on Facebook:

“I’m glad some people are wearing safety pins. They might come in handy as a suture for any lacerations you get when you are macro-aggressively punched in the face for being such a slactivist jack ass.”

We are concerned that the purpose of his post was to incite violence. The safety pin has been adopted as a symbol of solidarity and signifies that the wearer will stand up for those who are most vulnerable: mainly the LGBTQ, Muslim and immigrant community. Every member of our student community has the right to wear the pin without fear of violence. Hate speech is defined as speech that offends, threatens or insults groups based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation and disability. We believe Douglas McDonough’s post constitutes hate speech.

We, the parents of the New Hope Solebury school district, are not willing to accept this type of speech in our school. We demand that Douglas McDonough issue a written public apology and a guarantee that the same behavior will not be repeated — or resign from the school board. We intend to read a copy of this letter at the board meeting on Monday and will be sending a copy, along with Mr. McDonough’s post, to the Pennsylvania School Board Administration.

As a member of the school board, and an elected public official, Douglas McDonough has a responsibility to ensure our students feel safe, not to create an environment of fear and concern, as his post has done. Under Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law, Mr. McDonough’s personal online communications and emails may be considered public record and subject to disclosure. We would like an assurance that this post is an aberration and not typical of Mr. McDonough’s behavior.

Sincerely,

Sarah Bergenfield

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About the Author

- “Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy." - Einstein

Displaying 26 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. mband2008@comcast.net' Melvin Band says:

    As far as a minimum I.Q. for serving on a school board, if there were such a requirement, we would set our democracy back generations werein Black adults were subjected to all sorts of questions about their knowledge of American history before they were allowed to vote. Does Mr. Morales really want to go there?

  2. Jbredlabek@hotmail.com' Ana a says:

    No more photos of the board calling them heroes hanging in the school

  3. mgreen531@gmail.com' Marie says:

    Are prospective school board members required to sign anything regarding a code of conduct? And if so, did his reference to violence violate it?

    The point here really isn’t so much about his opinion of those wearing safety pins; but rather the violence he insinuated they deserve to face.

    • vincentc.polito@gmail.com' Vincent says:

      This was not about violence. This was about one person’s objection to a gesture that is not about inclusion, racism or bigotry. Wearing the ‘safety’ pin is about protesting the election of Donald Trump. The post is not about inciting violence. It’s calling out the hypocrisy of those saying that the result of the election means a lack of inclusion is forthcoming.

      In addition the school district is remiss in allowing theses political gestures to create a distraction from school business.

  4. tomwhalleydhx@yahoo.com' Tom Whalley says:

    I went to the Board meeting last night and came away feeling bad for McDonough. When I first read his post, after it was forwarded to me, I thought it was a direct reply to someone…but it wasn’t. That would have been completely different and constituted a threat if that is how he replied to someone.

    While I don’t agree with the sentiment in the post, I don’t have an issue with it being posted. As many said last night this is an inclusive town…and that inclusion should mean a diversity of ideas.

    I understand why some were taken aback by the words…but I don’t think someone should be judged because of one post that has different interpretations. At first I only interpreted it to mean one thing, but grew to understand the point….maybe not the tone…but the point.

    Some of the comments last night were over the top…I don’t know if this is a town I want to continue living in…..This constitutes hate speech…I no longer feel safe in this town.

    Come on…this is an over-privileged town without many real 1st world problems. Not perfect, but a pretty fortunate place to live. While I’m glad people that had issues with the statement spoke out, I was there to show support for those people, but came away from the meeting feeling bad for McDonough and his family.

  5. The “snow flake” and “buttercup” users are outing themselves as the Alt-right. This is terrifying. The safety pin is about assisting people who are being targeted by the Alt-right. If any undocumented people wanted a safe place I would house them, just like The Underground Railroad.

    • brnewhope@gmail.com' Yeneefer says:

      Just a heads up – AGREE with you %100% but let’s stop using “alt right” and just call it what it is: White Supremacy – I worked for SPLC for many years after college and the rise in these groups has been staggering since the first election of Obama – “Alt-Right” is a sugar coated term for racist mean people. Thanks for your post though. 🙂

  6. rothschild63@gmail.com' Rob R says:

    As a citizen and parent, I absolutely join the call for his resignation. It does not violate his freedom of speech to say he is breaking the standard of conduct expected of a School Board member. After denouncing violence when discussing the tensions at school (threats and harassment are now openly displayed to ethnic, religious or cultural groups), I have to explain to my daughter why the school seems to desire and enjoy violence.

  7. joeyofthebacons@gmail.com' Jacky says:

    What an idiot. He’s allowed to have his own opinions but that was an extremely insulting and inappropriate message for a man of his position, no matter if it was private or not.

  8. siggeorge@comcast.net' George says:

    As to the first part of this article, is there anything that Ms. Tai will not publicly comment on? Like a Hollywood celebrity she uses her assumed fame, with the Solebury Twp. Supervisor’s Chair position, as a soap box and suggests that she speaks for the township at large. If the residents have not yet noticed, the Twp. Supervisors have become our nannies. They issue resolutions in the residents’ name to local, state and national (Yes, to Pres. Obama himself) political officials since, “we, as supervisors are charged with the health, welfare and safety of our residents” (Resolution dated Sept 06, 2016). This is Progressive speak for we can, and will do, what we please because you don’t know any better. This statement, which was recently espoused by the Solebury Township Supervisors in an official Township Resolution transmitted to President Obama (D), PA Governor Tom Wolf (D), Senators Robert Casey (D) and Patrick Toomey (R), Congressman Michael Fitzpatrick (R), State Senator Charles McIllhinney (R) and State Representative Scott Petri (R) with regard to gun control. Seriously? I was unaware of the rampant gun violence here in our township. Is this what you thought you elected in a board of supervisors? Forget the fact that it was written from a place of ignorance and riddled with factual errors. Here’s a novel idea, stick to issues involving Solebury Township roads, building ordinances, open spaces, economic health and local police matters. If those are not enough to keep you busy perhaps it is time to step aside.

    As to the “hateful and illegal acts that were occurring all over the country following the election,” please call-out the specific groups engaging in such activities. You won’t will you? It may require that you point your finger back at yourself. As we have seen, it is the Progressive movement that has inflicted the violence and millions of dollars of destruction “all over the country.” Additionally, K. Witt, please elaborate on your comment that “incidents of active open racism, anti-semitism and homophobia I’ve seen documented within a 20 minute radius of here alone since the election.”

    We are only a short way to raising the UN flag at the township building in place of the American flag. You only need look to the Amherst, Mass Township building and radical board of supervisors to see where this is going.

  9. eeruns@gmail.com' Kyle M says:

    This kind of behavior should not be okay…. Screw this guy. What a d#%k

  10. thasluprus@thraml.com' Sandra says:

    New Hope/Solebury a sanctuary township/borough. I can always count on Pink Flamingo for a good laugh. Can’t wait for the sanctuary city/Trump showdown!

  11. Djennings69@hotmail.com' Dave says:

    Use your safety pin to keep you safe, I’ll continue to use my Smith and Wesson to keep me safe. No where in the Constitution does it say you have the right not to be offended,so suck it up buttercup.

  12. Sourshoes@yahoo.com' Brent Hatley says:

    This silly safety pin fad (which is already over, by the way) is the simplistic and literal choice of a symbol adopted by simplistic people unable to engage in respectful and informed dialogue with anyone who thinks differently than they do. It’s the same as all those nitwits in Washington who don’t dare leave the house without a flag pin on their lapel. Small minded sheep, the whole lot of you!.

  13. mergingmusicinc@gmail.com' John Danaher says:

    They only reason safety pins are “Dumb” is because “You” are not supporting it.
    There should obviously be a minimum id requirement to post on this website.

    • Mikem@yahoo.com' Mike Morales says:

      Soooo….if I start supporting the pins they won’t be dumb anymore?
      Aren’t you the deep thinker. Speaking of IQs…if yours ever hits 80…SELL!

      • mergingmusicinc@gmail.com' John Danaher says:

        Mr. Morales obviously spends way too much time with his face stuck in a comic book and watching Fox news.
        The Safety Pin message is far from over. It speaks loudly “You are safe with me” Which means if a person of color, religious identity, sexual preference etc. is being harassed or threatened in any way, I WILL step in and end it right there…..One way or another.
        More obvious is that Mr. Morales’s words reflect his passive/aggressive, egocentric personalities. But hey….I’m sure there is more of him where he comes from.
        In essence, HE is the only dumb one here. …..Signed “The Voice of Reason”

  14. Hayleyscomet09@yahoo.com' JLA says:

    Anyone who takes a look at Helen Tai’s website and personal facebook pages will see that she is out for revenge due to her displeasure in the election results. Wasn’t it Hillary Clinton who said she is entitled to a “private and personal persona?” If this was on his personal Facebook, albeit it was not a smart thing to say, it should be seen as a 1st amendment right, despite the distastefulness and part of HIS personal persona. He should have been reprimanded privately. Helen should not have taken his post and blasted it across various social medias. He has a family and the response has been violence inciting, so really how hypocritical! If the post was on the school board website, it should have been deleted by the FB group admin and again, spoken to McDonough in private. This public blasting by Tai screams political motivation based on her facebook profile alone. How horrible.

  15. McDonough has to get off the school board and New Hope and Solebury must be become an official sanctuary Township and borough.

  16. kellyvetter@msn.com' kv says:

    Mike Morales some people see false platitudes for what they are during a campaign and pay attention to the policies following. For you to assign any act of support and community as a “dumb gesture” shows that his campaign was full of hate, like yourself.

  17. Kwhitman@gmail.com' K Witt says:

    Mike Morales,
    You demonstrate a complete and perhaps willful misunderstanding of what purpose wearing a safety pin is meant to serve. It is worn to serve as a visible symbol to those who are being actively targeted by racists, homophobes, anti-Semites and Islamaphobes – and you can add xenophobes and misogynistis to that list – that the wearer is concerned for and will actively advocate for their safety and stand up to arrogant, ignorant bullies, seemingly represented by McDonough.
    I assure you, despite whatever your “alleged” perception may be, members of these groups overwhelmingly did not feel “showered with affection” by Trump (well, a number of women “allegedly” did feel so “showered” but not in a consensual manner) during the election or after.
    Given the alarming number of incidents of active open racism, anti-semitism and homophobia I’ve seen documented within a 20 minute radius of here alone since the election, I have yet to hear of any such “persecution” coming from the hands and mouths of Muslims. Unfortunately, it is all too clear who is spreading the hate and intolerance these days.
    I have heard from many minority and, indeed, Muslim friends that while seeing the safety pin may be a mere gesture on behalf of some, it is at least a sign that such a person is not going to randomly spew hateful vile words or worse at them for absolutely no reason other than to attempt to hide from their own insecurity.

    • mergingmusicinc@gmail.com' John Danaher says:

      You are 100% WRONG.
      “It is worn to serve as a visible symbol to those who are being actively targeted by racists, homophobes, anti-Semites and Islamaphobes – and you can add xenophobes and misogynistis to that list.”
      That is totally erroneous.
      You obviously don’t work with factual information very much.
      The real issue here, in my opinion, …..You know what?…..Never mind about my opinion.

  18. mmoral@yahoo.com' Mike Morales says:

    Safety pins were a short-lived dumb “gesture” by elitist progressives after the election that were supposed to protest Trump’s alleged racism, homophobia, sexism, anti-Semitism, and Islamaphobia. Never mind that these were all groups Trump showered with affection with his actions and words during the campaign, with the exception of Muslims — who routinely persecute the other four.

    But I gotta say this McDonough dude, by posting this, is just too stupid to serve in any elected office. There should be a minimum IQ requirement to serve as a school board member

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