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Lawsuit claims Grand Ledge school board violated Open Meetings Act

Grand Ledge School board meeting
Posted at 3:19 PM, Aug 31, 2021

GRAND LEDGE, Mich. — A Grand Ledge parent filed a lawsuit against the Grand Ledge Public Schools and the district's Board of Education earlier this month, claiming they violated the Open Meetings Act when they required people to fill out a form in order to speak at a public meeting

Amber Redman, who filed the lawsuit, attends many school board meetings, where she has expressed concerns about mask mandates and critical race theory. At one meeting, she even brought her own gavel.

Parents and community members at the Grand Ledge School Board meeting
Parents and community members at the Grand Ledge School Board meeting

According to court documents, before the June 28 board meeting, the board announced that those interested in speaking during the public comment portion had to fill out a public comment form, which required people to put down their name, address, and the topic they would be speaking on.

Court documents claim it was the first time the board had required that sort of form.

Redman said in the lawsuit that she asked Kim Manning, the board’s secretary if people would be denied the chance to speak if they didn’t fill out the form and that Manning said she believed “the board would deny individuals the opportunity to speak during the public comment segment if they did not fill out the forms.”

Grand Ledge Public Schools
Grand Ledge Public Schools

The lawsuit says Redman told Manning that it’s illegal to require people to fill out the forms to participate and that school board President Sara Clark Pierson cited polices that stated “each person wishing to address the board shall identify themselves by name and jurisdiction.”

The lawsuit claims the form required information that was “inconsistent with and in excess of that required under the board’s 'established' and 'recorded' policies.”

Grand Ledge School Board meeting
Grand Ledge School Board meeting

Pierson declined to comment on the allegations, other than to say, “Ms. Redman’s lawsuit has no merit.”

FOX47 News did reach out to Grand Ledge Public Schools and the school board's attorney Timothy Mullins for comment but did not hear back.

Redman’s lawyer Eric Delaporte provided a statement that said, in part, that, "the Board of Education’s unlawful attempts to intimidate community members who opposed their decisions violates the rule of law," that Redman was not "acting solely on her own behalf but is instead championing the right of the public to participate in public discourse" and that the board's actions "prevented numerous community members from addressing the Board, including, but not limited to, those hiding from abusive spouses or other threats to their safety and to the safety of their children."

Grand Ledge Public Schools
Grand Ledge Public Schools

At this time there is no hearing date set.

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