Elijah Manley
Elijah Manley
courtesy photo

Broward School Board Candidate Elijah Manley Calls Member a “Demonic Entity,” Alleges Election Interference

Broward School Board candidate Elijah Manley called board member Rosalind Osgood a “demonic entity” in a Twitter thread fired off Sunday afternoon.

Manley also accused Osgood of violating election laws by intimidating voters and campaigning within 100 feet of an early-voting location at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center on Sistrunk Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.

“Demonic entity & School Board Member Rosalind Osgood was just out here intimidating voters," one of Manley's tweets read. "I heard her defaming Nora Rupert's character, by calling her a racist and saying she hates black people."

“This election is being hijacked by undemocratic forces and special interests,” Manley told New Times, adding Osgood was "very disrespectful, ageist, and patronizing. She acts like she can control the black community and our votes... intimidating voters at the polls.”

Osgood denied that she violated any campaign rules by speaking to voters outside the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center during early voting on Aug. 19 and rejected Manley’s description of what took place there. She told New Times that she visited the voting site Sunday afternoon to meet a cousin and was asked while there whether she supported School Board member Nora Rupert.

“The question was asked to me: 'Am I supporting Nora Rupert?' I said ‘No, I’m not supporting Nora Rupert,’ and I said why I’m not supporting Nora Rupert... I said ‘Ms. Rupert causes divide on the School Board, she goes behind the scenes and has conversations where she doesn’t give accurate information about what’s happening, and even about Board members and the Superintendent that cause people to not like us, or to work against the Board or to have a negative perspective of the Board and it’s not good for team and team building,” Osgood says. “When it comes to African Americans, she’s made comments about having principals that speak ebonics and different things."

"Now, I wasn’t trying to blast Ms. Rupert out," Osgood continued. "You don’t see me putting that on Twitter, in the paper or whatever. I was talking to a particular person that I’ve known for a long time in the community, that asked me.”

Despite Manley’s tweet, Osgood maintains that she has no unkind words for him and that the nasty politics in Broward school board races this election mirrors a hateful and toxic discourse in national politics. Manley, who's 19 years old and graduated from Fort Lauderdale High School last year, has generated national attention due to his youth and heightened national scrutiny of Broward County Public Schools in the aftermath of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High this past February.

Though mudslinging in local elections is common, Manley's tweet is notable for its critical focus on two board members who are not his opponents. Osgood is the incumbent board member for District 5, which includes schools in Lauderdale Lakes, Oakland Park, Sunrise, and other central Broward cities. Rupert, also an incumbent, is seeking reelection in District 7, which is in northern Broward and includes schools in Coconut Creek, Deerfield Beach, and Pompano Beach. Manley is running for an at-large, countywide seat against incumbent Donna Korn, whom Osgood is supporting in the race.

The Broward Democratic Party and the Sun Sentinel both endorsed Korn over Manley and a third opponent in the August 28 election, Ryan Petty, whose daughter Alaina was killed in the Stoneman Douglas High School massacre.

Manley says he is considering filing an injunction to stop the vote. He says that he has spoken to a lawyer with the help of local U.S. congressional candidate Tim Canova and that he might be joined by Petty in this effort.

Earlier today, Manley attended the Broward School Board meeting with a two-person camera crew. It is unclear at this point if the media attention is related to the accusations he made over the weekend, but he has since tweeted in support of Osgood's suggestion to take a "comprehensive look" at mental health services in addition to increased safety procedures at school buildings.

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