FROM STAFF REPORTS
A parent of a student enrolled in the Iredell-Statesville Schools’ exceptional children’s program has filed a grievance with the district related to comments a school board member posted on Facebook.
In a grievance submitted on Thursday, Jean Foster asks the board to remove District 4 representative Doug Knight from office because of comments he made that devalue children with disabilities.
In a post related to a FOX News article about a giant rock being removed from the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus after racism claims, Knight responded to another man’s comment by writing “they won’t. It’s woketardness.” The comments were later removed from Knight’s personal Facebook page.
Those comments, according to Foster, amount to discrimination and harassment under federal law and violate the school board’s code of ethics, which states a board member’s “first and greatest concern must be the educational welfare of the students attending public schools.”
More than 4 percent of I-SS students have some sort of disability, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
“It is unethical, immoral and discriminatory to use a derivative of the word ‘retarded’ to attempt to debase others,” Foster said in the grievance. “The implication is that mental disorders are to be mocked. Perhaps Dr. Knight believes that people with mental retardation or physical disorders are inferior to him or that it is okay to degrade them by using disparaging wording, but it is not.”
Knight’s comments, she argues, should disqualify him from serving students.
“In no way and under no circumstances should a person who would devalue our children with disabilities have a right to make decisions for these children,” she said. “There is no scenario moving forward where we can trust Dr. Knight’s intentions with the disabled population.”
Knight declined to comment about the matter after being provided with a copy of the grievance by Iredell Free News on Thursday.
District policy 1740/4010 outlines the procedure for parents and students to file a grievance with the district. The process may be initiated by making a formal complaint to the superintendent or the child’s principal.
Foster’s complaint was filed with East Iredell Elementary Principal Angel Oliphant on Thursday morning.
I-SS Policy Code 2116 – Removal from Office
Members of the board of education may be removed by the remaining members of the board if sufficient evidence warrants such action. Causes for action are:
• the member is not capable of discharging, or is not discharging, the duties required by law; or
• the member is guilty of immoral or disreputable conduct.
Prior to any hearing by the board concerning the removal of a board member, the board will seek any required input from the State Board of Education and will conduct an independent investigation of the charges. The board also will provide the accused member with an opportunity for a due process hearing with proper notice. If the board determines the charges to be true and substantiated by the evidence, the board may declare the office vacant.