5 Sparta school board members should be removed from office

Newton /
| 10 Mar 2023 | 03:10

    Walter Knapp, Kurt Morris, LeeAnn Pitzer, Leigh McMichael and Christina Kieling - these are five members of the Sparta Board of Education who should be immediately removed from office.

    And school board attorney Marc Zitomer should also be 86’d for malfeasance.

    These six individuals conspired to run a con game of the residents of Sparta in order to ignore the wishes of the majority.

    A parent - one parent - of a child in the school system, Christina Korines, had petitioned the board for the removal of the book “The Upside of Unrequited,” by Becky Albertalli, believing it to be unsuitable for her 11-year-old daughter.

    In fact, the award-winning coming-of-age novel had been marked for checkout only by students in the eighth grade and older.

    Somehow, despite Korines being only one minority voice opposing the book, the Sparta BOE decided to hold a meeting to decide the issue.

    “Kangaroo court” might be a better term for what the five listed above, along with their lawyer, perpetrated on the public.

    First, as required by the board’s bylaws, the book was reviewed by a committee consisting of education literature professionals. They recommended, by a 5-2 vote, that the book, which had been in the library for several years, remain on the shelves.

    An overwhelming number of parents also addressed the BOE, requesting the retention of the novel.

    Unfortunately, a number of the board members engaged in side conversations and we’re seen giggling like fourth-graders while these parents were speaking, basically ignoring their comments.

    That gave the indication that the fix was in, and this “meeting” was nothing more than a stage show. And it was.

    The five school board members listed above voted to remove the book despite the board’s own stated Policy 9130, which says, “No challenged material may be removed solely because it presents ideas that may be unpopular or offensive to some,” and Policy 2530, which states, “The responsibility for the selection of instructional materials (this includes library books) is delegated to the certified library/media personnel.”

    To their credit, a number of parents indicated that they are going to file an ethics complaint against the five book-banners for violating their own policies, although Zitomer said no violations have taken place.

    Well, Counselor, if your clients can ignore the overwhelming wishes of the public they allegedly serve, then that public can ignore you. And you’re wrong anyway, and you’ll find that out in court. Not that you care because the taxpayers of Sparta will be footing your legal expenses. Hopefully they’ll haul you up before the State Bar Association as well.

    Hopefully, the residents of Sparta will recall these incompetents from office. The students - and the parents - deserve better.

    Michael Schnackenberg