Donna Richards offended by Gottlieb's "jokes"

| 28 Jun 2012 | 08:25

    I would like the opportunity to make a statement and preface it by saying these views are my own and not those of my fellow board of education members.

    As much as this pains me to have to address this unfortunate issue publicly, I feel Wayne Gottlieb has left me no other choice.

    I was truly offended by the speech Mr. Gottlieb gave at the high school graduation on June 19. It caught me totally off guard and something I would never have expected from someone like him. I failed to see one ounce of humor in the comments that were made. The total lack of judgment and understanding as to the seriousness of those comments troubles me. It was disrespectful to our graduates and the staff who worked extremely hard to make this a beautiful and dignified occasion.

    As a board member I really try to conduct myself in a professional manner, because what we say and do as board members not only positively or negatively reflects on us, but also how others view our community.

    Mr. Gottlieb has placed me, as a board member, in a very awkward position going forward, and I resent that.We as a board are required to make many difficult decisions involving students. This incident has left us as a board open to criticism for those decisions.

    Obviously, from the response of my fellow board members and lack thereof from the public, I realize I am in the minority. It wasn't their name brought up and made the national news. It wasn't their 9-year-old granddaughter who had to ask,"Pop Pop, why would someone want to shoot you?"

    I don't say these things out of malice or ill will. I like Mr. Gottlieb and I accept his apology, but is that enough? I wish we could turn back the clock but we can't. How do we rectify this? I am truly at a loss.

    Donna Richards West Milford Board of Education