After the incident between Sue Burstein-Kahn, wife of board member Murray Kahn, and district teacher Tera Shamey, Superintendent Susan Zurvalec sent a letter admonishing Burstein-Kahn. Patch obtained a copy of the letter and other correspondence, via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
In the letter, Zurvalec charged that during the July 23 meeting, Burstein-Kahn pointed at Shamey and said, "You're a bitch." Zurvalec issued three instructions: no further use of "demeaning and abusive language" at board meetings, a written apology to Shamey and no contact with district employees, except through Zurvalec's office.
Failure to comply, Zurvalec wrote, "may result in removal from future Board of Education meetings or Farmington Public Schools' property".
Citizens United responds
While Burstein-Kahn declined to comment for this article, Farmington Citizens United, an organization founded by Farmington Hills parent Kerry Jackson, issued a lengthy statement July 29 that said Shamey "called citizens of the school district 'racists'."
In her comments during the meeting, which can be viewed online, Shamey said that criticism over the $222 million bond issue goes back to the selling of Eagle Elementary and past controversial decisions.
Shamey said criticism by the same core group "all stems back to this, what I believe, is a racist idea, that you shouldn't have made some of the decisions that you made over the past decade."
In the release, Jackson wrote, "I am saddened that an employee of the district would use this type of divisive and degrading language. She debased the dignity of a public school system, which should exemplify the civic values of open engagement, robust debate, and thoughtful criticism with calling out engaged parents as 'racists'."
He said Farmington Citizens United "is made up people from all walks of life including racial and religious minorities.”
In email correspondence between Zurvalec and Murray Kahn, also obtained under the FOIA request, Zurvalec wrote that after conferring with legal counsel, she determined Shamey did not violate board policies regarding public comment.
"... it would be inappropriate for anyone in a position of authority (ie Board member or administrator) to discipline, admonish or reprimand her for her comments," Zurvalec wrote.