Minnesota school boards see unprecedented wave of resignations
An unprecedented number of Minnesota school board members are resigning amid an increase in harassment and violent threats from constituents, The 74 reports.
The big picture: Heated debates over issues such as masking and how race is taught in schools have sparked backlash against school board members across the nation.
- As a result, community members who volunteered for the nonpartisan roles are dealing with surges in partisan candidates, recall efforts and even physical altercations at meetings, as Axios' Stef W. Kight has reported.
What's happening here: More than 100 of the state's 2,200 elected school board members have left their posts since the start of the 2020 school year, according to the Minnesota School Boards Association.
- At least 26 have stepped down since January, including six in the last month alone.
Driving the departures: For some, the rhetoric and targeted harassment, which can include threats of violence, has become unbearable.
- One exiting Minneapolis member saw protesters picket his home and post flyers of his face on lampposts. A Hastings school board chair had to move after opponents outed her child as transgender.
What they're saying: "The hate is too much," Pam Lindberg, a former Robbinsdale School Board member, said. "Continued permission the community members give themselves to say whatever they want and however they want is oppressive, it's demeaning and damaging."
Of note: The trend is also rocking small towns and rural areas. The Brainerd Public School Board had to ask police to attend meetings after anonymous threats.
- "In a small town like this, that's just never happened," former Chair Bob Nystrom said. "This is scary, that you have to have a police officer in the meeting to protect you."
What to watch: Some experts and local officials worry that a "downturn in civility" is going to make it more difficult to recruit people to run and serve in these posts.
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