Atlantic City, NJ- Well old people move over-that seems to be the motto for a 17 year old Atlantic City High School student. Dafiq Rasheed served a year on the city's Board of Education before being "impeached" by student council advisors. Rasheed claims the council's advisors, who are also teachers at the high school, had a political vendetta against him, strong-arming council members to dethrone him and commonly referring to him as "Baby Callaway" and "Little cc, " a reference to former City Council President Craig Callaway, who will be sentenced next month on federal bribery charges.
Yesterday morning Rasheed announced to form an exploratory committee to explore his run. If Rasheed is elected he will be the youngest school board member in New Jersey ever. He will also be the first student of any district to serve on the board while being a pupil. He has been an avid figure throughout Atlantic City. Rasheed was most recently at the City of Atlantic City's 3rd Annual Fannie Lou Hamer Ordinary People, Extraordinary Deeds Gala at Richard Stockton College last month.
"I think it's time to end the bull crap and we need strong voices on the school board. How do you have administrators who destroy this district and the students? i am running to send a message to the youth. My message is quite clear-we will no longer put up with this mess, " Rasheed said.
With a year until the election Rasheed has big financial support. He already has two Philadelphia-based law firms hosting a reception for him in July at Tropicana casino. Rasheed said if he needs to spend personal funds for this campaign he will, but he won't need it says Atlantic City attorney Mel Shabazz.
"Rasheed will raise more money than ever because he's young, aspiring, and has a rare sense of humor appealing to contractors and attorneys in the region. i endorse the kid because he's 17 and has more experience than your average adult."
In a city known for expensive campaigns he also locked in Dale, Schultz, et al financing firm for his campaign finances. The firm is known for their active role in the United States Congressional Black Caucus. Money is not going to be a problem for the 17 year old who is popular among the city's populace. He has experience in the political arena. He's built contacts from cashing in an internship for then-Senator Jon s. Corzine's campaign. According to campaign expense reports, Rasheed was paid over $5, 000 in the summer of 2005 for his participation in the "Get Out the Vote" program for Mayor Bob Levy.
Mayor Levy is among nine politicians who have already endorsed him. City councilmen Eugene Robinson, Marty Small, John Schultz, and Bruce Ward have publicly backed him. He has support among current board members and even former State Senator Bill Gormley. The city has never seen any such an success and he has a good tenure ahead of him. Atlantic City Board of Education is very important because they have a $90 million budget for Fiscal Year 2008.