Fouled out? Calls grow for Whitney Lanning’s school board resignation after video shows her hounding Isaura Garcia, leading to criminal charges

St. Joseph, Missouri school board member Whitney Lanning is facing calls to resign after surveillance video shows her harassing other board members, allegedly screaming profanities and threatening…

St. Joseph, Missouri school board member Whitney Lanning is facing calls to resign after surveillance video shows her harassing other board members, allegedly screaming profanities and threatening violence.

The video was published online late last week and reveals Lanning, a former Division I college basketball center standing 6 feet 4 inches tall, hounding board member Isaura Garcia, with board member David Foster appearing to shield Garcia from Lanning’s advances.

In one stunning scene in the audio-less video, Lanning follows closely behind Garcia and Foster, appearing to yell something at them, before throwing her purse and a laptop against the wall in disgust.

Foster and Garcia appear to be ignoring Lanning. 

The board had just finished a meeting in which it struck down a 4-day school week in a 4-3 vote. Lanning supported the failed proposal; Garcia did not. 

The altercation occurred as board members were heading out to the parking lot to leave. 

After throwing her things and yelling, the video shows Lanning continuing to pursue Garcia and Foster through a room. As the trio nears a doorway, Lanning leans over and makes contact with Foster, who appears to be knocked off balance as he shields Garcia. 

The video evidence supports the police probable cause statement, which described Lanning as “screaming profanities in [Garcia’s] face. …Lanning then followed the victim through multiple rooms of the building while screaming that she was going to assault her.” 

Lanning is charged with second-degree harassment, the most serious type of misdemeanor in Missouri, punishable by a fine up to $2,000 and a year in jail. 

In a statement to the St. Joseph’s News-Press NOW, Lanning was unapologetic. 

“This was not a disagreement over school-related issues, in fact, it wasn’t a disagreement at all,” Lanning wrote in an email. “My child was attacked in an effort to discredit district staff. As a mother I’ll always defend my child, and all children for that matter.” 

Board member Kim Miller, who was walking just ahead of Foster and Garcia, denied Lanning’s claim in her own statement to the paper. 

“Isaura said nothing offensive and never raised her voice, but Whitney began cussing and threatening Isaura,” Miller said. “I witnessed the diatribe of vile words and threats Whitney made against Isaura as she followed and pushed against David to get to Isaura, as they tried to leave the building …”. 

Foster told the paper he had never witnessed anything like this before. 

“The incident that happened on Feb. 26 was unmatched to anything I’ve seen in three years of serving on the board,” he said. “It is unfortunate that we still have individuals that try to justify multiple accounts of bully behavior and fail to take full responsibility for their actions.” 

Lanning, who worked five years for the Missouri Department of Social Services as a child abuse investigator, is not only accused of “bully behavior” in her role as a school board member. 

Two years ago, while running for mayor of St. Joseph, several former Community Action Partnership of Greater St. Joseph (CAPSTJOE) employees accused Lanning, who is the organization’s Executive Director, of discrimination and creating a hostile work environment.  

In the wake of the misdemeanor charges, a number of Missouri leaders have also criticized Lanning and called for her to either resign or be fired from her job at CAPSTJOE, an organization that is mostly funded by taxpayers.  

“Whitney Lanning was delinquent on her taxes, she committed a violent crime against her fellow board member at a district meeting, and her board decided to keep a drunk driver as Superintendent,” Spencer Bone, executive director of Liberty Alliance USA, told The Lion. “Lanning is a disaster and should resign. St. Joseph deserves better.” 

“I understand innocent until proven guilty, but multiple concerns regarding Lanning from various situations is more than troubling,” wrote Associate DeKalb County Commissioner Kyle White. “Federal, state and county officials that are involved with CAPSTJOE need to be aware of the character of leadership at the organization and request the immediate resignation of Ms. Lanning from the organization.”  

Missouri state Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, who represents Buchanan County in the state Senate, also called on Lanning to resign or be removed from her position at CAPSTJOE.  

“These criminal charges against @StJosephSchools Board member Whitney Lanning are disturbing and serious. She should immediately resign her position as executive director of @CAPStJoe or be removed by its board,” Luetkemeyer posted on X. He also called for her resignation from the school board in another post. 

The News-Press editorial board even published a column Thursday about the need for change on the school board, titled “The Jerry Springer Show comes to St. Joseph.” 

“Lanning’s actions illustrate that it’s sometimes the board itself (or at least certain members) that makes it awfully hard for the community to provide the support that students, teachers and administrators deserve,” the editorial reads. 

“After the April election, the new board has a lot of work ahead to fix its reputation, gain the community’s trust and become a functional body that resembles C-Span more than Springer.” 

Foster, who is not running for reelection, hinted at a need for change as well, telling the paper: 

“The disagreement [with Lanning] that came from a board matter and was used as an opportunity to intimidate shows great lack of stability to our board and district. The question we should be asking future board members is, ‘How well do you handle conflict?’” 

Lanning’s term does not expire until 2025, but three board seats are up for election April 2, including Foster’s and board members LaTonya Williams and Kenneth Reeder, both of whom are seeking to retain their seats. In November, a petition to recall Lanning received over 500 signatures.  

Lanning is scheduled to appear in court April 3.