Lakota Board of Education Update

Lakota Board of Education Update: Mr. Parnell's Resignation
Posted on 09/11/2020
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The following letter was shared via email on Friday, Sept. 11 by Lakota Superintendent Matthew Miller in response to a public statement from Lakota's Board of Education regarding former board member Todd Parnell's resignation.

Dear Lakota Families, Staff & Community Members, 

As you may know, our school board members are in the process of reviewing applications to fill a vacancy on the Board of Education as a result of Mr. Todd Parnell’s recent resignation. 

Our school district recently received a public records request from a local news station for information surrounding Mr. Parnell’s resignation. We want you to be aware of the statement (see below) that Lakota Board of Education President Brad Lovell read at this afternoon’s special meeting. While Mr. Parnell cited personal reasons for his resignation, we want to share with you why Mr. Lovell asked for his resignation. 

Transparency is very important to all of us at Lakota. However, it is important that you understand that we allowed Mr. Parnell to resign for personal reasons to help protect his family, especially his children, from any backlash that may occur. The Board acted quickly in removing Mr. Parnell from his seat and is now in the process of interviewing applicants to fill his position.

Lakota Local Schools and the Lakota Board of Education must act in the best interest of all of our students. Opinions like the one shared by Mr. Parnell below will not be tolerated.

The Board plans to appoint its new member at Monday evening’s meeting.

 

Sincerely, 

 

Matthew J. Miller
Superintendent




Statement read by Lakota Board of Education President Brad Lovell in its entirety:

This afternoon, we will be responding to a public records request for information surrounding former board member Todd Parnell’s resignation. Before we do this, we believe it is important for our parents, staff and community members to understand what led to his resignation, why we asked him to resign and why we decided to allow him to cite personal reasons for his resignation.

On Wednesday, Aug. 26, an incident took place in the Lakota West parking lot after school involving West Chester police officers and three teenagers, two of whom are our students. That afternoon, Lakota West Principal Ben Brown sent an email to parents to inform them of the incident. 

That same evening, Todd Parnell replied to Mr. Brown via email stating, “They should have shot them.” Mr. Brown immediately notified Superintendent Matt Miller and Senior Director of Diversity and Inclusion Elgin Card.

Mr. Miller notified me, as the president of the school board, of the email that same evening. First thing Thursday morning, Aug. 27, Mr. Miller, Lakota’s CFO/Treasurer Jenni Logan and I met to discuss how to remove Mr. Parnell from his seat on the Lakota Board of Education. 

The decision was made quickly to ask Mr. Parnell for his resignation from the Board. Unlike a company employee, as an elected official, a school board member cannot be immediately fired.

Mr. Parnell’s email to Mr. Brown was abhorrent and it does not in any way reflect the values of our school board, school district leadership or our school family.

Mr. Parnell submitted his resignation via email to Mr. Miller and me at noon that same day. At this time, I, along with Mr. Miller and Mrs. Logan called each of the remaining three board members to explain what had happened. We agreed to hold an emergency meeting that afternoon to accept Mr. Parnell’s resignation.

Approximately two hours later, Mr. Parnell rescinded his resignation saying that he wanted to have “further discussion with the board and (his) personal attorney.”

Less than one hour later, Mr. Parnell sent another email to Mr. Miller and me changing his mind once again and resigned.

The Board met at 4:30 p.m. that same day to accept the resignation.

As a board, we discussed how to react to Mr. Parnell’s email to Mr. Brown and decided to not discuss it publicly out of sensitivity for Mr. Parnell’s family, particularly his children. 

Once we respond to the media’s request this afternoon, we have no doubt that this will become a story for other news outlets. We want you, our community, to understand that Mr. Parnell’s vile comments have absolutely no place in this school district. The Board acted swiftly and definitively to remove him from his seat. Our focus now is on finding the very best candidate from our community to fill the remainder of the open term on our school board.