South Bend, Ind. A South Bend school board member is being called a ‘bully’ for comments he made during a heated meeting last week.
In a letter dated Monday, the school reprimanded Bill Sniadecki for his behavior.
During the explosive meeting, Sniadecki’s daughter, Hope, spoke out about her legal issues with the school corporation.
She says her daughter was kicked out of Kindergarten at Tarkington after two weeks.
The school corporation says the girl’s birthday didn’t meet the state’s or the corporation’s cutoffs for enrollment. Unfortunately, they say it took several days for the age issue to be discovered.
But, Bill accused the superintendent and board president of kicking his granddaughter out of school to get revenge on him.
The letter reprimanding Sniadecki says he made numerous ‘inflammatory and false accusations about the superintendent and board.”
It says Sniadecki went as far as calling Schmidt “mean” and “evil.” And, Sniadecki says that’s a statement he stands by.
“I did make the statement that it takes an evil person to do this to a 5-year-old child just to get revenge on me,” he said. “And, then, I did make the statement as far as 'You need to go back to Arizona where you came from.’”
The letter also claims Sniadecki threatened board members and staff, “even telling another member to ‘meet (him) in the parking lot,’ as if to challenge him to a physical fight.”
“I don't remember saying that and I don't know who, which board member I would say that to,” Sniadecki says.
He claims he’s not a bully, but a victim. Sniadecki says the reprimand is another way for board members who disagree with his stance on issues to get back at him.
“When The Crossing was coming up and Michelle Engel and the superintendent and Stan Wruble was totally against The Crossing,” Sniadecki said.
The board voted 4-3 to approve a new contract with The Crossing in September, after its previous contract had expired.
At the time, Engel said she didn’t find the contract appropriate because the alternative school is faith-based.
Wruble said he didn’t think the curriculum was on-par with the curriculum in South Bend schools.
Sniadecki says the board members were unhappy he got The Crossing back on the agenda and have been trying to retaliate ever since.
But, the letter reprimanding Sniadecki says his actions have been damaging to the school corporation. It asks him to stop acting in ways that “are in contradiction to your duties as a Trustee, in violation of your Board Member Ethics, and are unbecoming of a board member.”
In an e-mail, Engel said the school corporation is trying to crack down on bullying of students and staff. She says they won’t tolerate such behavior from a board member.
Engel says if Sniadecki’s inappropriate actions continue, the board could vote to censure him again. But, she said “the time and resources we must devote to it are a most unfortunate distraction from the important work we are doing as a board and a corporation."