Portland School Board Meeting Continues after Ejection of Disruptive Attendee
The decision to conduct a virtual on-line school board meeting on Monday night, to practice social distancing and minimize potential Covid-19 exposure to the attendees, allowed for several decisions to be made before the holiday break. Virtual board meetings are currently allowed as an exception to the Michigan Open Meetings Act. Portland Schools have arranged for board members, staff, and the public to access and attend the meetings on-line.
The Board approved the hiring of Tim Ormsbee, as the Dean of Students at Portland High School, as well as new first grade teacher, Lindsay Lampman, for Oakwood Elementary. Lampman will complete her teaching degree at GVSU this spring. The Board also approved the purchase of a new maintenance truck and a tractor. In addition, a decision was made to extend virtual Wednesdays for all Portland public school students until the end of the 3rd marking period.
Earlier in the meeting, as the board was preparing to vote on reconfirming its “Extended COVID-19 Learning Plan” per Michigan Department of Education requirements, one of the on-line attendees was able to scribble “You’ve been hacked” across the screen. This was followed by several verbal and offensive comments including racial slurs. Superintendent Heath temporarily suspended the meeting after informing participants to sign-out and then sign-in again. In the follow-up meeting only those names that school administration recognized were allowed to sign in and participate. This left the alleged hacker(s), one or two attendees, out of the continuation meeting which proceeded without further incident. School Administration informed The Beacon today that they are looking into options on how to prevent these types of disruptions from happening in the future.
Finally, long-time School Board Member Kathy Foote was recognized for her contributions to the school and board. It was Foote’s last meeting as she decided not to seek another term on the Board. Board members Andrew Huhn, Beth Goodman and Angela Shinaver will begin new six-year terms at the next Board Meeting in January.