Scott Sherwood, Trumansburg Central School District Board of Education Chair, resigned from his position on the board Jan. 11. His resignation came after a petition regarding comments he made on Facebook about the Jan. 6 riots on the United States Capitol gained traction on Change.org.
Though Sherwood deleted the inflammatory comment from his Facebook page soon after its posting, screenshots of it quickly circulated throughout the community. By midday Jan. 11, the petition had garnered more than 700 signatures. It was ultimately signed by 846 people.?
The comment in question is as follows, according to the petition: “While I certainly don’t agree with what went on in the capital [sic] today, it is notable that the protestors are leaving peacefully, nothing is burning, no cars of innocent people have been targeted, no businesses have been looted, and no police are being spit on. Just my observations.”
Sherwood’s statement enraged many Trumansburg parents, who said Sherwood’s views did not align with their values or the values of the school district.?
“This statement is wildly inaccurate and demonstrates willful ignorance concerning the differences between justice movements and violent insurrections. Reports from countless credentialed outlets provided coverage on the violence, injuries, vandalism, theft, destruction of government property, and the deaths of several rioters, as well as the murder of a police officer,” states the petition, which was started by Molly Wadzeck Kraus.?
“Perhaps Mr. Sherwood was simply misinformed before he posted,” the petition continues. “However, his thinly-veiled attempts to draw a false comparison between Black Lives Matter protests and the domestic terrorism intended to overthrow a democratic process based on conspiracy theories shows a fundamental lack of judgment and the propensity to malign the largest social justice and civil rights movement in modern-day history.”
Many people posted angry comments below the petition. “…I cannot risk [Sherwood’s] agenda filtering into policy building the school system that has influence on my child,” read one comment, signed Lorren Hammond, of Trumansburg.?
Sherwood had also reposted a conspiracy theory about voting machine fraud and its alleged impact on the general election, calling it “interesting.” Facebook had labeled the original post fake news, siting several articles by reputable news sources refuting the specific allegations of voter fraud detailed in the post; the post has since been deleted from Sherwood’s page.
In an emotional speech, Sherwood said that while he acknowledges he should not have said what he did about the riots, he disagrees with the way he and his family have been treated. His children have been targeted and subjected to hurtful comments by other children, which he said crosses a line.?
“I find it painfully ironic that I am accused by being hateful while my family and I are served the very same treatment,” he said.?
“If this nation is ever to heal, everyone needs to think about how they treat each other,” he said, “myself included.”?
“Anyone who has attacked your children should be suspended,” said Jacqueline Wright, member of the public.?
“It’s being dealt with, Jackie,” Sherwood responded.?
Randy Vanderzee was the only board member who voted against accepting Sherwood’s resignation, which went into effect immediately.