BINGHAMTON, NY – A candidate for Binghamton City School Board is being accused of racism for the words he’s used in social media to describe previous protests in the city.
Numerous residents have reached out to NewsChannel 34 to decry some of the language used by John Solak in his Twitter posts about the rallies.
Solak, who is critical of the protesters behavior, has referred to them as wild animals and thugs and he’s labeled Black Lives Matter as the Black KKK.
His critics allege that he is using common racist slurs and tropes to demean people of color and that makes him unsuitable to serve on the district school board.
Emma, who asked not to use her last name, says board members should be individuals who are prepared to look out for the best interests of all school children.
“54 percent of the student body according to NYSED are students of color. You have to understand that the school board is representing people who are marginalized in our community and I feel when you publicly make statements regarding these communities with such flamboyant and aggressive language. I’m concerned that if you elect someone like that onto the school board, that you’re gonna exclude that 54 percent of students,” says Emma.
Solak says the accusation is baseless and mindless and that he is not a racist.
He accuses outside agitators, as well as activists with anonymous social media accounts for orchestrating a coordinated smear campaign against him.
Solak says the crazy behavior of the protesters is why he referred to them as wild animals and he says the protesters carry signs identifying themselves as thugs.
He says the district should not allow group to protest on the high school property as was done last Sunday.
“If and when the school opens up in the Fall, are we going to be bogged down, are teachers and resource officers going to have to kneel down before what is essentially a black supremacist group, and that’s Black Lives Matter,” says Solak.
Emma says her objections have nothing to do with a coordinated effort, but rather are the result of simple research she’s done into the four candidates for two open positions, something she encourages others to do.
The other candidates are Dave Hawley, Sean Massey and Tim Ames.
Absentee ballots for the election are due back to the district office by 5 PM on Tuesday.