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Ridgewood School Board Dismisses Racism Complaint Out of Hand

BOE

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, At the October 8 BOE meeting, during the public comment section, a resident made a remark that many residents considered to be both racist and vicious towards Asians. Other residents of Asian background who were at the meeting and those who saw the video or the text of the comment concurred.

Resident Steve Kim followed up with the BOE, hoping for an establishment of better standards and protocol at the public meetings. Both Mr.Loncto and Dr.Fishbein were quick to reply to dispel Mr Kim’s thoughts. They didn’t even bother asking why he had issues with the resident’s comment.

Mr. Kim asked, “Is this how they handle racism issues at the school? Racism is about perspective, and silence, suppression and denial are never the right answer in such cases.”

It appears to the Ridgewood blog that Mr. Kim got the ,”big blow off ” from the Board and Superintendent on a serious issue once again demonstrating the School Board is out of touch with residents .

Here is the relevant chain of emails…

On Wed, Oct 10, 2018 at 08:00 AM, Steve Kim wrote:

Mr.Loncto, Dr.Fishbein and the rest of BOE.

The comment made by this resident was racist in nature, anti-Asian. You were at the meeting. Why did you not mention that what he said was inappropriate? Instead, you thanked him. Very disappointed and concerned.

https://youtu.be/Oi5sCJkqIA8

On Oct 10, 2018, at 11:46 AM, Vincent Loncto wrote:

Dear Mr. Kim,

I did not perceive to comment to which you refer as racist or anti-Asian.

It is an historical fact that the American/U.N. armed forces were facing an overwhelming superiority in numbers when the Chinese Army entered the war in Korea.

I believe that reference to this event was meant to convey the superiority in the number of people present at the meeting who support the April vote.

Sincerely,

Vincent Loncto

…………

Mr. Kim,

The analogy that was used in the video you provided, may not be the one I would have used, but I do not think the gentleman’s intent was to offend anyone.
Daniel Fishbein, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Affirmative Action Officer
Ridgewood Public Schools

……………
Mr. Kim,
I concur with Dr. Fishbein and Mr. Loncto on this issue.

– Jennie

Mr. Kim would follow up in the following email…….

From: Steve Kim
Date: October 10, 2018 at 2:26:36 PM EDT
To: Daniel Fishbein
Cc: Vincent Loncto 
Subject: Re: Anti-Asian Remark at the recent RBOE meeting
Most often, racist remarks are made unknowingly. When those around the situation allow it without resistance, then they are complicit.  In every racial bias case in history, silence was not the right choice.
 
His analogy of Ridgewood now versus China/Korea/US in the 1950s have more than simple headcount as intended connotation.  
 
Moreover he went further to describe Ridgewood as once a beautiful village with civilized people that is now marred by others.  Opposite of civilized = barbarians?
 
As a reference to his beliefs, attached are notes he directed at me personally earlier this year.
 
If there is no proper code of conduct at the meetings and you judge the noted comment to be acceptable, then I think an ill-natured precedent has been set going forward. 
 
Kind regards
 
Steve Kim

 

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