The vice president of the Monroe Township school board in Gloucester County has resigned after posting a message on Facebook suggesting one way to stop violence is to let Blacks “kill each other.”
“Well, there is one way to stop this [expletive], since they seem to wanna keep it up,” school board vice president Jeff Simpler wrote in a Facebook post that surfaced last week. “As much as I hate to say this. Stay out of the way, and let them kill each other sooner or later they will run out of other Black people to kill.”
A screenshot captured the post on Simpler’s Facebook page in response to a June 27 news story about a spike in violence in New York City that left 18 people shot in 24 hours. It prompted immediate calls by residents for Simpler to step down.
The Monroe Township board announced Simpler’s resignation on Saturday, effective immediately.
Simpler could not be reached for comment Monday. His Facebook page has been deleted. His telephone number has also been disconnected.
In a statement Monday, the district said: “We have been made aware that a former Board member made very troubling public comments on social media. It is important our community realize these comments do not reflect the Monroe Township Public Schools and the Board of Education. While it is sad that a statement is necessary, given the sentiments that were expressed, the Monroe Township Public Schools and the Board of Education stand for equality, integrity, and most of all, racial equity.”
Interim school Superintendent Thomas Coleman declined comment. The district enrolls just short of 6,000 students in K-12, about two-thirds of whom are white, and 16% Black, according to state data.
Nia Imani, a 2011 Williamstown High School graduate, shared Simpler’s post in a Black Lives Matter‐South Jersey Facebook group. She said she had contacted district officials and the state Board of Education. ”We cannot allow this kind of person to oversee policies regarding Black children when this is his mind-set,” she put in her post.
The board gave no indication on when Simpler’s seat would be filled. The school board is scheduled to meet July 16.
According to a 2011 campaign flyer, Simpler retired from the U.S. Army in 2001 and worked for the U.S. Postal Service. It said Simpler was a former president of the Monroe Township Democrat club, served on township committees, and was a state licensed official for high school sports.
In 2018, school board candidate Richard Jankowski withdrew from the election after New Jersey Globe reported disparaging remarks on Jankowski’s Facebook page calling Blacks “monkeys” and animals and suggesting “it’s time to start firing bullets to kill them.”