UPDATE: School board meeting ends in outburst of yelling

South Bend, Ind. A South Bend school board meeting ended in an outburst of yelling, after a board member’s daughter condemned the corporation.

Hope Sniadecki, daughter of board member Bill Sniadecki, took the podium during the public comment portion of the meeting.

She says her daughter was kicked out of Kindergarten at Tarkington Traditional School two weeks after school started. Hope says the school corporation claimed her daughter wasn’t old enough and couldn’t be enrolled.

But, Hope and Bill say the situation’s politically motivated.

“I wonder why there’s a lack of students in this corrupt corporation,” Hope said to the board. “The ones that are here are getting refused the right to education. Or, maybe, it’s just this one in particular because my dad is sitting up there with you.”

Hope sought injunctive relief to try and get her daughter back into school as quickly as possible, but the case was transferred to federal court, where she hasn’t had any success.

“If there was any kind of issue with my daughter’s attendance at your school, it should have been addressed before she was suggested to, allowed and welcomed to attend,” she said.

After Hope sat down, Bill started commenting on the situation, despite hesitation from other board members.

He said his granddaughter was kicked out because the corporation had an issue with him. He didn’t specifically name any board members or the superintendent in his accusations.

“I’m asking you, are you making accusations?” Superintendent Carole Schmidt asked Bill.

Board President Michelle Engel and board member Roger Parent both moved to adjourn the meeting.

“You are being volatile,” Engle said to Sniadecki.

“I’m stating facts here,” Bill replied.

After the meeting was abruptly ended, Bill continued talking. He was then asked to leave by the South Bend police officer monitoring the meeting.

"You don't need to ask me to leave,” Bill replied. “You work for me more than you do for (Schimdt)."

Bill stayed around to sign paperwork before leaving on his own. During the meeting, he said he plans on contacting the Attorney General's office after being interrupted and cut off by other board members.

The South Bend School Corporation released a statement about the situation Tuesday saying, "Under state law, a child may not enroll in a public school kindergarten program unless the child has turned five years old by August 1 of the school year in which the child seeks to enroll ... while exceptions to the statutory August 1 age deadline are sometimes made for children who turn five between August 2 and September 1, children who turn five after September 1 are not eligible to enroll."

According to the statement, Hope's daughter had not turned five by the statutory deadline or the school corporation's deadline. But, she was mistakenly allowed to enroll in kindergarten.

"Unfortunately, it took several days for this mistake to come to light and be corrected," the statement said. "When Ms. Sniadecki was notified that her child would be removed from Tarkington, she filed a motion for a temporary restraining order asking the Court to require SBCSC to enroll her child."

The school corporation says the request was denied in September by the Northern District of Indiana.

The full statement is attached to this story.


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