Plum school board member says anti-Muslim Facebook share was ‘accidental’
Some residents are calling for the resignation of a Plum Borough School District board member after he shared a social media post that has been criticized as being anti-Muslim.
Brian Wisniewski, who is in his second year of his four-year term on the board, shared a Facebook post Feb. 1 that was originally posted on an account by the name Paige Hilgers on Jan. 21.
The post shows a picture of a man holding a gun with the American flag as a backdrop with these words: “Does it worry anybody that we have three devout Muslims in Congress who have unlimited access to our TOP SECRET GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS?”
It is unclear from the post who the “three devout Muslims” are in Congress, but two Muslim congresswomen, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., were recently elected.
Wisniewski on Tuesday offered an explanation in a prepared statement: “It was an accidental share.”
“This specific meme was shared in succession with other varying topic memes that I shared,” he said. “I do not agree with the repost.”
Drew Barto, a Plum resident and parent of an elementary student, said Wisniewski should resign.
“Brian’s post is no different than someone saying ‘Does it worry anybody that we have X number of Christians in Congress, or X number of Jews,’ ” Barto said in an email.
Barto said the school district is made up of several nationalities, including Muslims.
“I won’t tolerate my children talking like that about anybody else, nor will I tolerate a board member sharing such hateful rhetoric … Brian should resign from the board immediately,” he said.
Others on Plum community Facebook groups also condemned Wisniewski’s post and said he should resign.
The school district issued a statement Tuesday condemning the Facebook post.
“We have been made aware of an inappropriate reposted comment on a board member’s personal Facebook page. This district is not affiliated with this posting in any way,” district spokeswoman Charlene Payne said in an email. “We vigorously disagree with and condemn the content of the post, and we do so in the strongest possible terms.”
Former school board President Michelle Stepnick said she is extremely angry about the post.
“That doesn’t represent the 3,800 best kids I ever had the honor to serve,” she said, adding she does not believe it was an accident.
“If it was accident, he could have deleted it. It was up three days before it became an issue,” Stepnick said.
The former board member did not call for Wisniewski’s resignation, but said he “better think long and hard about what he’s doing on that board.”
“I’m sad for these students. They deserve so much more,” Stepnick said.
Current board members Vicky Roessler, Jim Rogers, Steve Schlauch, Scott Kolar and Scott Coulson were not immediately available to comment.
Board member Richard Zucco said he did not have enough information about the incident to comment.
When reached by phone, Board member Sue Caldwell said she stood by the district’s condemnation of the Facebook post.
Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, [email protected] or via Twitter @dillonswriting.
Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, [email protected] or via Twitter .