The Board of Education on Thursday will reconvene the regular meeting it was forced to suspend on Monday due to safety concern.
Thursday’s meeting will be held in the auditorium at Stout Middle School, 18500 Oakwood Blvd, Dearborn. Initially the district planned to hold the reconvened meeting at Fordson High, but due to scheduling conflicts with several after school events and discussion with Dearborn Police, Stout with more ample parking and fewer after school activities was determined to be a better and safer location.
The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. on Oct. 13.
Attendance in the auditorium will be limited to 600 people. Some overflow seating will also be available in the school gymnasium and cafeteria near the auditorium. The meeting will be broadcast live in the cafeteria and on the district’s YouTube channel for those who prefer to watch at home.
Parking is available in school lots north and south of the school building. Those attending should use the front doors near the digital sign on Oakwood. Parents should carefully consider bringing children to the meeting as it is expected to take several hours and it is a school night.
Anyone who submits a blue card by 7:10 p.m. on Thursday or if they submitted a blue card at Monday’s meeting to show that they wanted to make a public comment will be allowed to speak at the reconvened meeting. Speakers will be limited to three minutes each to speak, and no one is allowed to assign or share their time with another person. Both rules are long-standing board policy, although sometimes the acting Board President may waive or soften those rules if they feel conditions permit.
No posters will be allowed.
With about 60 blue cards submitted on Monday, the public comment portion of the meeting alone is expected to take more than three hours.
A Board of Education meeting is not a town hall or other open forum. The purpose of the meeting is to allow the Board to conduct the business of the district. As required, the board plans to take any public comments on action items first, vote on items that need their approval, and conduct other business. They will then return to take the majority of the public comments, which appear to be related to how the district selects or retains books in the school media centers.
That issue is not on the agenda for any action by the board.
Dearborn Police, including some school resource officers, are expected to be on hand to help with crowd control.
Despite the large crowd on Monday, the regular board meeting initially proceeded in an orderly fashion. Some of those who came for the meeting used overflow rooms set up to accommodate the large crowd.
However, after about 80 minutes, when the time came to begin public comments, many of the hundreds of people in attendance began yelling about the three-minute time restriction and the request that many of those not planning to submit public comments leave the packed room to bring it back within the fire code limits. Trustees eventually opted to recess until order was restored. However, the crowd refused to settle or disperse, so at the urging of the Dearborn Police Department, trustees decided to suspend the meeting for that night.
The district would like to thank all of the Dearborn Police Officers who responded to the meeting to assist with crowd control. A special thank you to Dearborn Police Chief Issa Shahin for his comments and interactions with the crowd that encouraged them to leave the building.
Last week the district released information about its updated Guidelines for the Selection and Review of Media Materials. (Find the announcement here.) Parents now have a clearer method to opt to keep their child from checking out certain titles from the school library or to keep them from checking out any materials from the library. In the updated guidelines it is very clearly stated:
Dearborn Public Schools believes that media materials containing graphic and/or gratuitous violence, sexual content, expletives, or hate speech, and without literary or educational merit should not be included in our school media centers. MCL Act 33, Section 722.674
The district also clarified and updated the process for how concerned parents, students and staff can ask to have a book removed from the school library. One parent has brought six books to the district’s attention, and they are the first going through the new review process.
“We encourage our parents to work with the district if they have concerns about the age-appropriateness of particular items in our media centers. With nearly 500,000 books in our school libraries, it is possible something slipped in that shouldn’t be there, despite our best efforts,” Superintendent Glenn Maleyko said. “The proper procedure to remove books is to bring that title to the attention of the media specialist at your child’s school, so we can begin the Book Challenge process.”
“We will not promise to remove every book because we know different parents have different opinions about some materials. But we do promise to take the time to reevaluate items parents may be concerned about if they reach out to the media specialist,” Dr. Maleyko said.
See a one-page overview of how parents can address media material concerns (in English and Arabic).