West Orange Board Member Heavily Criticized
WEST ORANGE, NJ — Numerous West Orange residents spoke out against West Orange Board of Education Vice President Irv Schwarzbaum during the board’s meeting on May 8 after his extremely controversial vote on gender identity in a previous meeting.
“Schwarzbaum is expressing opinions that belong to the dark ages”, says resident who attended the meeting “it was a mistake to allow him to serve on the board”.
Schwarzbaum was elected to the board of education uncontested after the other candidate had to withdraw her candidacy because of her pregnancy. Although known to be a controversial candidate, Schwarzbaum refused to remove his candidacy and was therefore elected to the board.
Several residents indicated that the only reason he was on the board was because of unfortunate circumstances. “His ‘default’ election should have been appealed to allow other, more qualified candidates run for this board position”, said one resident.
“Your comments were completely unacceptable and showed a really gross level of ignorance about the subject,” said Nicole Davis, a social worker who frequently works with transgender youth, directing her remarks to Schwarzbaum. “I found it really frightening that somebody who is in the position to make policy that affects young people’s lives can actually say the things you said and think the things you think.”
The Vice Chair was heavily criticized at the meeting not only by parents, but by several students from the High School as well. Nevertheless, Schwarzbaum stood firm and did not resign from his position.
“This is simply abuse of power. This is a man who would do anything to stay in power”, says a source in the township of West Orange who wished to remain anonymous, “He is showing the same ‘ugly side’ of American society also on the zoning board where he serves. Some people have started a petition calling both boards to remove him from these positions.”