Calls for New Jersey official’s resignation after threatening Tlaib on Facebook
Muslim Advocates Calls for Removal of NJ Statewide School Board Association Member Daniel Patrick Leonard for Anti-Muslim, anti-Arab Facebook Posts. Official Posted a Death Wish on Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Accusations of Terrorism at Rep. Ilhan Omar
Muslim Advocates called for Daniel Patrick Leonard, a member of the Toms River Regional Schools Board of Education and the New Jersey School Boards Association Board of Directors, to resign or be removed from both posts because of his violent, anti-Muslim posts on Facebook, including a post saying his “life would be complete” if Rep. Rashida Tlaib would die, and accusations that Rep. Ilhan Omar is a terrorist, among many others.
Today, the board of education will host a public meeting at Toms River High School. Muslim Advocates has also launched a campaign calling on the New Jersey School Boards Association to remove Leonard from his leadership position.
In a statement released today, Muslim Advocates Special Counsel for Anti-Muslim Bigotry Madihha Ahussain said:
“No individual who is responsible for governing the education of children should ever engage in hate speech, bigoted conspiracy theories and violent, anti-Muslim rhetoric on social media. The harmful, ugly content that Daniel Patrick Leonard regularly posts to Facebook exposes him as someone wholly unfit to work with the diverse school children in Toms River and the state of New Jersey. Leonard’s views are completely inconsistent with the New Jersey School Boards Association’s mission to promote the achievement of ‘all students.’ He should resign or be removed from both offices. We’re asking New Jersey families of all backgrounds to urge the school boards association to remove him from his leadership position.
“Hateful, dehumanizing posts on social media like the kind shared by Mr. Leonard have serious consequences. Rep. Ilhan Omar has already received death threats because people ignorantly and maliciously called her a terrorist and associated her with the 9/11 terror attacks—just as Mr. Leonard did in multiple Facebook posts. He also puts Rep. Rashida Tlaib in danger by effectively wishing that she would die. We have reported these posts to Facebook and await their determination if they are in violation of their content policies.
“As long as Mr. Leonard continues to serve in his current official roles, we do not have confidence that the children in Toms River Regional Schools district and in New Jersey will be treated fairly, regardless of their faith, or will be safe from bigotry and threats.”
Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.
Daniel Patrick Leonard is a 30-year resident of Beachwood, NJ and a proud member of the Toms River High School South Class of 1994. Post HSS, Dan furthered his education with an AS in criminal justice from OCC; a BA in political science from Richard Stockton University; and an MSM in public service administration & leadership from Thomas Edison University, which he attained in 2016.
Dan is married to Michelle A. Leonard and they have two children, each extensions of the family’s High School South tradition. Alexia is a graduate, Class of 2017, and Haley is a current South student in the Class of 2020.
Professionally, Dan retired in November of 2018 from his job as Coordinator for Business Services with the Ocean County Department of Human Services Workforce Development Board. Dan’s personal and professional life are enhanced by a proud history of service to his country. He also retired from the United States Army in April of 2018 as a decorated combat veteran of the Afghanistan War with more than 23 years of dedicated service.
In combination with his elected membership on the Toms River Board of Education, Dan boasts a variety of volunteer service experience. He is past chairman of the NJ Veterans of Foreign Wars Iraq & Afghanistan Committee; past director of the Veterans of Foreign Wars State Legislative Committee; member of Toms River Elks Lodge #1875 and American Legion Post #129; and former Secretary of the Beachwood Recreation Commission and member of the Beachwood Land Use Board (2010-2016). Dan’s service to his community has not gone unnoticed, as he is a recipient of the NJ Distinguished Service Medal (2005); the NJ Public Service Recognition Award (2007); the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (2012); and the Beachwood Police Department’s Meritorious Service Award (2013).
Click here for more information on the Tom’s River Regional Schools in New Jersey.