Other board members had no comment for this story. The board’s operating procedures contain a provision allowing for the dismissal of a board member for improper conduct.
Despite Nitcznski’s apology, numerous LGBT advocates remained steadfast in their demand for Nitcznski’s resignation or removal from the board.
Pennsylvania Youth Congress, an LGBT advocacy organization, issued the following statement: “A true apology acknowledges an individual’s responsibility and commits them to repairing the damage done. Mr. Nitcznski’s backpedaling on his revolting words [Nov. 17] did neither. Stating unconvincingly that he did not mean to cause offense does absolutely nothing for the children and community members he has harmed. The complete lack of admitted wrongdoing — or desired action to make things right — cements his lack of care for those he is meant to serve. One who holds such blatant disregard for LGBTQ+ children should not be allowed to hold a seat on a school board in Pennsylvania. We continue our call for him to resign.”
Deja Lynn Alvarez, a transgender leader, echoed PYC’s sentiments. “I am tired of these meaningless apologies,” Alvarez said, in an email. “Your personal/religious beliefs do not belong in your professional settings. Just as you cannot show racist or anti-Semitic or anti-woman views, you should not be able to express anti-LGBTQ views in your professional capacity. If you feel this way sir — and you obviously do — you should be forced to resign from your position as you are not fit to hold any public office/position, period. You are in a position of power over students, many of whom are part of the LGBTQ community. And people like Mr. Nitcznski do great harm to our children. This is why Pennsylvania must pass sweeping anti-LGBTQ legislation. And we must push the new [presidential] administration to finally make LGBTQ a protected class in this country.”
Justin F. Robinette, a local civil-rights attorney, said he was “repulsed” by Nitcznski’s comments.
“Given this level of pure ignorance, I definitely question what century this school board thinks we’re living in,” Robinette said, in an email. “A school board cannot discriminate against — or create a hostile environment for — its own students based on sexual orientation, sex, or race. And a school board [member], seeking the removal of an LGBTQ+ display in a public school library, implicates core First Amendment freedoms of constitutionally-protected speech and the right to receive information — which have been established law for decades. [Nitcznski’s] conduct also directly contributes to the problem of LGBTQ+ bullying and harassment, which remain a major problem in schools today. Therefore, Mr. Nitcznski has no place continuing to serve on the school board for a school district in this Commonwealth.”
Chad D. Lassiter, executive director of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, condemned Nitcznski’s conduct but stopped short of calling for his resignation or removal.
“The KKK historically was engaged in White Racism, White Violence, White Terror. And their reign of terror fractured the very fabric of our democracy,” Lassiter said, in an email. “Thought processes like the one displayed by Mr. Nitcznski prove to us that we must stay vigilant to the shadow of hate that continues to target the LGBTQ community. Supporting and ultimately advocating for the rights of the LGBTQ community is essential, given the current context of the recruitment and resurgence of White Supremacists groups in Pennsylvania that many times target the LGBTQ community. The PHRC condemns these comments. And we stand readily available to provide trainings and expertise, if the school would like that.”
Tim Cwiek is a reporter for the Philadelphia Gay News, where this story first appeared.