Lakewood, NJ – Chaim Rosenblatt, a frum member of the Board of Education of Lakewood, NJ, has asked for a local resident to be banned from future board meetings because he feels threatened after she told him she wants to see him on “the street.”
The Asbury Park Press reports that the encounter between Rosenblatt and resident Alejandra Morales took place during the public comment portion of Wednesday’s school board meeting.
“I was threatened with what would imply physical harm,” Rosenblatt wrote in an email to several district administration officials on Thursday. “I would like to express the concerns for my safety.”
The emergency Board of Education meeting focused on various services not in place for the township’s private schools on the first day of school. Textbooks, nurses and special services teachers have not yet been put place.
Several black and Latino parents in the audience, including Morales, blasted Rosenblatt for his behavior during previous public meetings.
When she got up to speak, Morales criticized Rosenblatt, saying he tends to get up from his chair so he can wander around the stage, remains seated and mum, or leaves meetings early when board discussions center on services for public school students, many of whom are black or Latino. But when services for Lakewood’s nonpublic schools were the topic, Morales said, Rosenblatt stayed in his chair and was a central part of the discussion.
“Now you have the time? Beautiful,” Morales said to Rosenblatt with obvious hatred. “I want to see you one day in the street.”
The comment by Morales – who punctuated her speech by jabbing her index finger in the air – drew “ooohs” and laughter from many in the audience.
Rosenblatt initially also smiled at what Morales said. But his face then turned into a frown.
“Is that a threat? Is that a threat?” Rosenblatt asked Morales. She did not respond.
On Thursday, Rosenblatt sent an email about the incident to Superintendent Laura Winters, Board Attorney Marc Zitomer, Business Administrator Thomas D’Ambola, Board President Isaac Zlatkin, Security Director John Stillwell, State Monitor Michael Azzara and an Asbury Park Press reporter.
“I would like to know what measures to ensure protection are being taken,” wrote Rosenblatt. “I am now requesting that they not allowing these individuals to attend meetings that I am present by.”
In later emails Rosenblatt sent to district officials and to the Press on Friday, he wrote that he feels threatened by Morales and an unidentified “African American woman” who he said he is trying to identify.
“I do not feel safe around them after these threats to my well-being (were) made,” Rosenblatt wrote on Friday. “I would like to file a complaint and ensure I am not subject of crossing paths with them. Not publicly and (not) privately.”
The board of ed lawyer, Attorney Zitomer, said Lakewood does not intend to file any legal action on behalf of Rosenblatt at this time, said.
“If Mr. Rosenblatt feels that he’s been threatened, he should go to the Lakewood Police Department” and file a complaint against Morales and the other woman, Zitomer said on Friday.