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School board reverses decision in open enrollment after harassing letter is found

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014 10:02 a.m. CDT

Editors note: Osceola Sentinel-Tribune is not naming the mother or daughter in the article.

A Clarke student who had originally been denied a late filed open enrollment request, citing racism as a just cause, has had the decision overturned by Clarke Community School Board.

During an Aug. 25 Clarke School Board meeting, the mother spoke during the public comment section.

She said her family received a harassing letter in their family’s mailbox. The school board had a copy of the letter made available to them.

“The letter pretty much details what will happen if my daughter is allowed to go to this school,” the mother said.

The Osceola Sentinel-Tribune is not going to detail what was said in the letter at the meeting, but it did involve harassment and racism.

“This was left at our house telling us exactly what would happen if I let her walk through those doors,” the mother said.

She said law enforcement was doing a handwriting analysis on the letter and called the harassment a hate crime.

“In light of this new evidence, I see no reason why the original resolution to deny her open enrollment cannot be rescinded,” the mother said.

The letter had been addressed with administration before the meeting.

The mother said she still wanted to do her original plan of teaching her daughter at home through K-12 public school open enrollment, also known as CAM.

“There’s no way that anybody can tell me she will be safe 100 percent of the time in the school, unless there’s actually somebody walking around with her,” she said.

The board discussed that it was possible to rescind their original decision on the denial of open enrollment.

Original denial

That original denial of open enrollment happened during an Aug. 11 Clarke School Board meeting.

During the Aug. 11 meeting, Clarke Superintendent Steve Seid recommended the school board deny the open enrollment request because it was made after the state’s March 1 deadline for the 2014-15 school year, and there wasn’t enough documentation for the racism allegation to meet the good cause requirement for late approval.

During the meeting, school board members agreed there wasn’t enough proper documentation to overturn the decision to deny the late filed open enrollment, even though a letter the daughter had written documenting the incidents had gone missing from her school file.

Special meeting

With the new letter that had been sent to the family’s mailbox, the school board scheduled a special meeting Thursday, Aug. 28, for the open enrollment request to be reconsidered.

After research into the situation and circumstances, Seid recommended the board reconsider and approve the late filed open enrollment request for the daughter.

“The only thing I’d like to say is in lieu of the new evidence that has been provided, that I’m going to reverse my decision on the open enrollment,” said Steve O’Tool, school board member.

Gerard Linskens, school board president, said he wanted to thank the mother for her patience as things were getting worked through, and that her daughter was always welcome back at Clarke if she chooses.

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