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Banner criticizing the appointment of Princeton School Board draws controversy

bent spoon (Isabel Richardson).JPG
Local residents near Palmer Square.
Isabel Richardson / The Daily Princetonian

On Tuesday, Nov. 1, a large banner was placed across from the Princeton Shopping Center targeting the three incumbents of the Princeton Board of Education up for re-election: Susan Kanter, Debbie Bronfeld, and Dafna Kendal. Kendal currently serves as president of the Board of Education.

The banner calls for Bronfeld, Kanter, and Kendal to be voted out of office, but at least one will certainly remain on the Board, as there are only five candidates for three contested seats. The other two candidates are challengers Margarita “Rita” Rafalovsky and Lishian “Lisa” Wu. 


Rafalovsky did not respond to a request for comment by the ‘Prince.’

The banner was condemned by Kanter and Kendal, with Kanter writing to The Daily Princetonian that “I am angered and disappointed that such a hateful sign has been put in our town.” 

Bronfeld did not respond to a request for comment by the ‘Prince.’

Junglien Chen put up the banner and created the website that is shared on the sign—, which chiefly questions the Board’s decision to hire Dr. Carol Kelley as superintendent.

According to the website, Chen objects with Kelley’s previous policies as the superintendent of Oak Park Elementary School District in Illinois. On the website, Chen elaborated grievances relating to the implementation of “phony equity” policies at the Oak Park school district.

Kelley did not respond to a request for comment by the ‘Prince.’


Krystal Knapp / Princeton Planet

In an interview with The Daily Princetonian, Chen recounted his meetings with the Princeton Board of Education, saying “they were very reluctant about explaining what they want to implement in Princeton” and adding that viewers of the sign should go to the website in order to “understand what had happened at Oak Park.” Chen noted that he “[doesn’t] want to see that being replicated in our school district.”

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Chen’s children attend the Princeton Charter School — not in the Board’s jurisdiction — but still said he thought it was important to raise his concern.

“I think this issue is not just a local issue. Whatever you’re teaching is going to produce a class of students that I don’t want being taught under what they’re trying to bring in,” he said.

Kanter challenged the notion that these values be brought into the Princeton community, writing to the ‘Prince’ that, “It is incumbent on all candidates to call out the racist and anti-trans sentiments which do not represent the values of our community. All students deserve to be supported and celebrated. It is especially important to model civil discourse and respect in a school board election as our students are always watching and learning.”

This sentiment was echoed in Kendal’s email.

“Princeton is a welcoming community and while everyone has a right to free speech, we educate all children, and they all deserve to feel safe. There has been an undercurrent of racism and anti-LGBTQ sentiment during this campaign, and this is further evidence of that,” Kendal wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’

Charlie Roth is a staff News writer and assistant Data editor for the ‘Prince,’ focusing on local town coverage. Please direct any corrections requests to