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Local

Minooka school board member accused of making racist comment resigns

Former Minooka School Board District 111 member Lori Lakota stands and holds her finger to address over a thousand students, teacher, parents and Minooka citizens Tuesday, May 21, 2019, during a special meeting of School Board District 111 at  Minooka Community High School in Minooka, Ill. Lakota submitted her resignation to the board of education according to a Tuesday news release from the school district.
Former Minooka School Board District 111 member Lori Lakota stands and holds her finger to address over a thousand students, teacher, parents and Minooka citizens Tuesday, May 21, 2019, during a special meeting of School Board District 111 at Minooka Community High School in Minooka, Ill. Lakota submitted her resignation to the board of education according to a Tuesday news release from the school district.

A Minooka Community High School board member who faced allegations of making a racist remark in February has resigned.

Lori Lakota submitted her resignation to the board of education, according to a news release from the school district.

The district reiterated that the “rumors and allegations” that Lakota said at a board meeting that she did not want her child to be taught by a black teacher were not true. Lakota previously called the allegation “fake news.”

“The MCHS Board of Education would like to thank Mrs. Lakota for her years of devoted service to the MCHS community,” the release stated. “We wish Mrs. Lakota well in her future endeavors.”

Some parents and teachers, and several students and recent graduates of the district were angered at rumors that the alleged remarks resulted in the resignation of Principal Ronald Kiesewetter earlier this month. The district maintained that Kiesewetter’s resignation was a mutual decision between him and the board of education, and that it had nothing to do with the allegations against Lakota.

Still, at a board meeting May 21, hundreds came out to express their support for Kiesewetter and share stories of how much they appreciated him.

Although none of those making public comments named Lakota specifically, many did make reference to the alleged remarks and some even called for her resignation. About an hour and a half into public comments, Lakota herself got up and addressed the crowd, saying the accusations against her were false.

Still, many students also decried what they felt was a generally unwelcoming environment within the district toward students of color. Board President Mike Brozovich said administrators will work on initiatives to address those concerns.

Lakota had just been reelected to the school board in April and was the top vote-getter among seven candidates in the race for three open seats.

MCHS is now accepting applications from individuals interested in being appointed to fill the vacancy left by Lakota. Applications are due by June 10 with interviews of selected candidates to follow.

The appointment will be made at the June 19 board meeting. Those interested in being considered should submit a letter of interest to the board’s secretary, Colleen Ward, at cward@mchs.net.

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