Matt Jansen resigning Spring Grove school board

Written by Rick Lee/The York Daily Record | Aug 18, 2017 7:56 AM

Matthew Jansen, second from left, is greeted by Mubashir Mumtaz, left, Christopher Khalid-Janney and Hassan Ahmed before attending prayer and dinner at the Hadee Mosque of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Harrisburg on Friday, June 24, 2016. Jansen, a Spring Grove Area School Board Member and Republican delegate from York County attracted attention after disparaging comments made against Muslims and Islam. (Photo: Jeff Lautenberger, For The York Daily Record)

Board member said he is moving out of the district

(Spring Grove) -- Pastor Christopher Rodkey said he had heard rumors and he didn't sound exactly happy when it was confirmed for him Thursday evening.

Matt Jansen, the Spring Grove school board member who drew national attention last year with a recorded phone rant to the pastor over a message board sign wishing "our Muslim neighbors" a "blessed Ramadan," is moving to Rodkey's neck of the woods -- Dallastown.

Jansen confirmed Thursday evening he was resigning from the school board because of the move.

"I'm not happy about it, but we're about to settle on a house outside the (Spring Grove) district," Jansen said. "I don't think you can be a school board member and not live in the district."

Jansen's board term was not set to  expire until the end of 2019.

But, Jansen, who also was a Trump delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention, said he still has political ambitions.

"There's no chance in hell that a person like me is going to stay out of the political arena," Jansen said.

Jansen declined to specify what office he would be interested in, including if that possibly could be a run for the Dallastown school board. He did say that President Kennedy's "Ask not ..." address "still resonates with me."

The vast majority of school board members rarely attract the attention of the media.

But in June 2016, Rodkey, pastor of St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Dallastown, went public with the message Jansen left on his voicemail.

Jansen chastised Rodkey for the Ramadan message, telling the preacher that Islam is a "godless," "pagan" faith, asking Rodkey, "Are you sick? Is there something wrong with you?" and ending by telling Rodkey his message to Muslims was "despicable" and "unbelievable."


Jansen apologized to Rodkey via Twitter days later, stating, "Jesus died for hardline islamist just like he did me. I do apologize for venting to the church. I was out of line."

But the fallout continued with calls for Jansen to resign his school board position, which as recently as March he refused to do.

Jansen also accepted an invitation to prayer and dinner at a mosque in Harrisburg.

Jansen said Thursday he had a "bone of contention" over other messages Rodkey had posted outside his church and his call was an attempt "to get to the bottom of what it was all about."

"Some very interesting things came about," Jansen said. "I got to know a number of Muslim people who live in Harrisburg. I found out a lot of them were Republicans.

"That would have never happened had I not made that phone call."

Jansen had a caution for anyone interested in running for a school board position.

"It''s a serious job," he said. "Definitely more serious than I thought."

Jansen also said he remains a staunch supporter of President Trump.

"One hundred percent,"  he said. "I think he's a genius. He's playing 3-D chess."

Jansen said Trump's intelligence was apparent when he convinced China and Russia to sanction North Korea over its nuclear threats.

"He may have saved thousands of lives," Jansen said. "And he's not being given any credit by the media."

Finally, Jansen said it was "an honor" for him to serve on the school board for the Spring Grove community.

"Spring Grove School District is a diamond in the rough," he said. "It's a hidden gem. Excellent community, excellent teachers, excellent administration. I had a great time."

Cindy Huber, president of the Spring Grove school board, could not be reached for comment. School board vice president Brent Hoschar did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Rodkey said he is disturbed when an elected official harangues or harasses groups or classes of people and that he hopes Jansen will be able to hold his peace when he moves to Dallastown.



This story is part of a partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

Published in News, York

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