The Board of Education Trustees have a responsibility to the Hoboken community, the district administration/staff, and the students, to formulate and abide by all policies necessary for the operation of the school district. One of those policies is the Anti-Bullying Policy.
It is now public knowledge that a text forwarded by BOE Trustee Irene Sobolov appears to run contrary to that very policy; specifically the section that states “that if something that is said or written that has an effect of insulting or demeaning any student (individual) or group of or students (individuals)” is considered bullying.
There were two individuals involved in this harmful and hurtful communication exchange; Councilman DeFusco, who campaigned for Ms. Sobolov’s re-election in November, and a long time Hoboken resident, husband and father of two school-age children who has been a staunch advocate for children and taxpayers alike, often holding views that are in contrast to those of Ms. Sobolov. Interesting, Ms. Sobolov apologized to Councilman DeFusco, however she did not have the decency to apologize to this other individual.
Ms. Sobolov’s actions on March 30th were “heard loudly” across this community, including those very children that she serves as a BOE Trustee.
Engaging in this kind of dialogue and thinking that it is fine to forward such harsh and hurtful words is disgraceful, especially for an elected official that serves our children.
Perhaps, BOE Trustee Sheillah Dallara said it best, in a statement made at last night’s BOE Meeting, when she called this a “teachable moment.” I could not agree with her more. By stepping down from the position of BOE Trustee, Ms. Sobolov will teach the children of Hoboken that any form of bullying is absolutely intolerable and that there are consequences to such inexcusable behavior.
Simply apologizing to just one of the two individuals you shamed, and continuing to serve our children, sends a clear message to our children that bullying is acceptable and there will be no repercussions for such actions.
The best action now is for Ms. Sobolov to save Hoboken from any future embarrassment and step down from her position on the Hoboken BOE….immediately. Hoboken needs elected officials who are strong role models for our children and who are capable of interacting with the entire community with the utmost respect, dignity and civility including those residents that are opponents of their ideas/position on community issues.
Hoboken Resident, 20 years
Parent of a 6th Grader