Controversial school director quits board in south-central Pennsylvania

 Matthew Jansen (second from the left) officially resigned as Spring Grove Area School District director. (Emily Previti/WITF)

Matthew Jansen (second from the left) officially resigned as Spring Grove Area School District director. (Emily Previti/WITF)

Spring Grove Area School District Director Matt Jansen has officially resigned more than a year after protests first erupted over his public displays of anger directed at a church’s marquee wishing Muslims a “blessed Ramadan.”

Only a few people were in the audience for Jansen’s last meeting.

Not too long ago, the board was getting standing-room only crowds demanding his resignation.

The protests started last year after Jansen left his now-infamous voicemail for St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Dallastown.

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Jansen later apologized. He also visited a mosque, as documented by at least one newspaper. 

Then in February, there were the bigoted tweets, when Jansen says his Twitter account had been hacked.

Jansen has never filed a police report, but says he has messages showing communication about the security breach with his data service provider as well as tech support at Twitter.

He has provided screenshots showing the social media platform flagged and suspended a separate phantom account.

Six months later, Jansen says he regrets the controversy.

“These are things that, perhaps, can get a person in trouble if they’re in a position like this,” Jansen said. “I think all school board members need to realize, you know, use my situation … just as an example of how much scrutiny you can quickly be under.”

Jansen’s exit came before his term was half over.

He’ll also have to resign, even if only temporarily, from the York County Republican Committee because committee representatives are selected at the precinct level.

But Jansen says he’s leaving right now because his landlord is selling the property he’s been renting.

So he and his wife and 10-year-old daughter are moving to Dallastown, where he grew up not far from St. Paul’s.

The fallout in Spring Grove showed that it’s hard to force out an elected official in Pennsylvania.

Jansen’s fellow board members pointed to that state law on more than one occasion during meetings filled with angry constituents.

But now some board members say the law shouldn’t change.

That includes Board President Cindy Huber, who said Monday night that people need to “accept the process” as it is.

Jansen, meanwhile, says he’ll run for office again.

“I mean, I’m not out of the game at all,” he said. “I can assure you that.”



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