Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a lawsuit on Monday against the entire Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) and current school board member, former board president Jann-Michael Greenburg.
“SUSD manipulated public input and silenced the voices of parents in order to advance its own agenda,” Brnovich said. “This type of bad school behavior demands expulsion.”
The lawsuit is over two school board meetings that occurred on August 17, 2021, and August 23, 2021. Brnovich alleges that SUSD violated the Open Meeting Law (OML) by structuring the meetings in a way that prohibited public comment on a purposed mask mandate and other topics.
The August 17th virtual meeting presided over by Greenburg included a discussion of the district’s instructional time model for the 2021-2022 school year and a potential mask mandate. However, according to Brnovich’s complaint, the meeting’s agenda was split into a public hearing and a special meeting during which the board would discuss the mandates. During the meeting, Greenburg allegedly stated that public comments would only occur during the public hearing.
Greenburg opened the floor for public comment when the board finished its discussion. Yet, Greenburg stated he would “terminate any public comment that he deemed to stray too far from the subject matter of the public hearing,” according to the complaint.
Accordingly, while people could ask about the instructional time model, the board cut off anyone who brought questions regarding the proposed mandate.
During the August 23, 2021 meeting, the board released a statement that explained the difference between a special meeting and a public hearing. That evening, the board held a virtual meeting, and comments were allowed at the end, but Greenburg again informed the public that comments could only relate to the time model. The public offered only two comments.
Brnovich’s complaint claims that the board’s content-based restrictions and purposeful structuring of a meeting to avoid comments on a certain topic violate the OML. Furthermore, Greenburg violated the OML by cutting off a public comment and attempting to respond before the speaker finished during an August 24, 2021 meeting.
The lawsuit seeks to remove Greenburg from the board, impose civil penalties on the board, and ensure no future OML violations occur.
The Arizona Sun Times previously reported the SUSD has been in hot water before. Earlier in June, a worksheet surfaced online asking students to question their heterosexuality.
“[Scottsdale Unified School District] reportedly hosted a student club to “promote leadership and diversity” which was actually a cover for teaching gender identity and sexuality,” tweeted Libs of TikTok.
.@ScottsdaleUSD reportedly hosted a student club to “promote leadership and diversity” which was actually a cover for teaching gender identity and sexuality.
This is one example of a worksheet they gave to students: pic.twitter.com/1YAF1BeEZt
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) June 12, 2022
Furthermore, The Sun Times reported that Greenburg and his father, Michael, were accused of maintaining a Google Drive containing the names, addresses, pictures, and sensitive information of parent protesters who attended board meetings. Greenburg was ousted from his president position in November but refused to resign from the board.
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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Mark Brnovich” by Mark Brnovich. Background Photo “Teacher and Students in Class” by CDC.