Letter to the Editor: Criminal Complaint Against Board of Education Disappointing

Letters to the editor may be sent to [email protected]. All opinions stated in letters to the editor and guest columns are those of the author and should not be construed as an endorsement by Lowell’s First Look. 

The debate over books is a national phenomenon. Sadly, the resulting harm is to local communities and neighborhood relationships – as Lowell can certainly attest…

The recent filing of criminal complaints against members of the Lowell School Board by the leader of Lowell Kid’s First is a disappointing escalation of ongoing attacks on LAS board members and staff. Her (their) stated goal: for the Lowell Police Department to refer members of the school board to the Prosecutor on Felony charges.

We should appreciate the professionalism with which the LPD officer took the report, as well as the prompt response from the Kent County Prosecutor indicating “It is not the role of the criminal justice system to criminalize policy decisions of an elected body.” We can and should also question if this is appropriate use of our public safety and school resources.

It’s accurate to say great effort has been expended on this topic in Lowell:

  • Debate for and against censoring books has been ongoing for months.
  • The 2021 recall of 3 board members attempt failed.
  • Parental ability to restrict access to books is in place.
  • A candidate forum was hosted for the last election — community is engaged.
  • The 2022 school board election results reflect the wishes of the community.
  • Books have been challenged, review committees formed, recommendations rendered.

And, yet… The hurtful conduct continues. For over two years, LAS board members, administrators and many staff have endured sustained attacks, some of them quite personal from the comments (and keyboards) of several members of the Lowell Kids First group. Now, after months of dialog, members of this community are trying to get other members of this community charged with a felony.

Does this community truly want members of our school board arrested? Is this who we are?

I find the Lowell School Board’s consistently respectful professionalism in the face of unprecedented mean-spirited comment to be validation that district voters elected the right people for the job. They have been open and accessible to all sides, thoughtful and measured in their responses, consistent in their adherence to law, policy, and best practices. Throughout these months, their unwavering focus on students’ needs has demonstrated they are worthy of our support, and they deserve to be treated respectfully.

I want to thank every member of the Lowell School Board for their service, and for demonstrating remarkable professionalism under truly awful conditions. I see you; I appreciate and value you.

I am also sorry for how you’ve been treated; you deserve better.

Amy Gless
Lowell, MI

Editor’s note: This letter makes reference to a police report filed by an LAS parent regarding “crimes committed on Monday, May 8, 2023 at the Lowell Board of Education meeting.” The parent alleges that by accepting the recommendation of a book challenge committee, board members are criminally guilty of disseminating sexually explicit material to minors. Using a Freedom of Information Act request, Lowell’s First Look verified the existence of the police complaint and Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker’s response that this is not a criminal matter.

1 Comment

  1. Amy,your letter is outstanding, Well written and eloquent. I completely support your words and add my support to the LAS School Board and our police. I hope the people attacking this community will realize their behavior is what is shameful and abhorrent and Go Away.

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