(The Center Square) – A group of parents in Rochester, Mich., are demanding a dramatic change in school leadership.
Parents expressed their anger at Rochester Community Public Schools administrators and school board members during a Monday meeting. Parents are demanding the school board fire Superintendent Robert Shaner, then tender their resignations.
The parents’ pique was prompted by revelations school employees were monitoring parents’ social media accounts, compiling dossiers of publicly disgruntled mothers and fathers, and phoning parents’ employers, which, in the case of Elena Dinverno, resulted in her firing.
“Now you have exposed yourselves to the community, and parents are demanding change,” Dinverno told board members. “Parents will no longer sit idle or quiet. We want your resignations now.”
Dinverno was awarded $116,209.64 and her attorney received $72,540.36 in the lawsuit the pair filed against Rochester, according to documents received by The Center Square in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
According to the Detroit News, Dinverno has removed her children from the Rochester school district because she fears retaliation.
Monday’s school board meeting transpired in the wake of another lawsuit filed against the district last week by the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation.
In that suit, Carol Beth Litkouhi, the mother of two Rochester district schoolchildren, alleges school administrators and district board members refused to honor her FOIA requests. Litkouhi was attempting to collect information on teaching materials for a class titled “History of Ethnic and Gender Studies.”
Another FOIA was filed by Litkouhi on Dec. 25, 2021, in which she sought the district’s materials from 2020 to 2022 for training teachers in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
At one point, Litkouhi paid $418 for access to the course materials. However, she was told she couldn’t make copies of the materials and could only examine them on district grounds. The district never followed through on its promise to allow Litkouhi to peruse the materials she specifically outlined in her FOIA.
“During this tumultuous time, school districts should be doing all they can to help rebuild trust between parents, educators and the administration,” Holly Wetzel, Mackinac Center public relations director, told The Center Square. “One step districts should take is to increase transparency measures across the board. By treating parents as respected partners, school districts can make greater strides towards student success.”