West New York Board of Education candidate John Smith went after one of his opponents in the November 8 election over old tweets using profane language and advocating for marijuana use.
An employee of the town’s parks and public property department, Smith began by stating his outspoken nature is needed on the current nine-person board.
When asked what he thinks needs to be improved in the school district, he said that the special needs activities and programs are still lacking, based on the experience he had with his 22-year-old son who has ADHD and graduated from Toms River High School.
Smith added that funding is still a huge problem in West New York, therefore the board needs to give more serious thought when contracting vendors.
The independent candidate also took aim at Superintendent of Schools Clara Brito Herrera, who supported the Children First ticket at a fundraiser last week, exclaiming that politics are still too prevalent in the school board.
Indicating that he respects all other candidates, Smith says that voting for the Children First slate as the teachers’ contract negotiations continue could be a slippery slope.
Smith also asked for an apology from Children First member Jose Alcantara over tweets he wrote several years ago using profane language and advocating for marijuana use, stating that if he had posted similar material on social media, town leaders would have called on him to withdraw his candidacy.
Children First spokesman Pablo Fonseca responded over the phone, stating “this was a young man at a certain time of his life, that’s way in the past.”
“He is an example of what all parents wished their kids grew up to be today: well-educated, studying to get a master’s degree, [has] a good job, we all want our children to succeed. He’s a role model for children, [showing] that you can go through tough times, adversity and still be successful.”