Keller Citizen

June 4, 2014

Keller school board to address anti-Muslim comments

School board members will meet Monday to discuss what they can do about the controversial remarks made by Trustee Jo Lynn Haussmann.

School board members will meet Monday to explore options for the possible removal of Trustee Jo Lynn Haussmann, who recently made offensive comments on her Facebook page.

The Keller district posted the meeting announcement Tuesday, the same day the North Texas Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations held a news conference in Dallas calling for Haussmann to resign because of her “disparaging and Islamophobic” comments.

Haussmann posted the anti-Muslim comments about a recently elected Southlake City Council member, saying: “SOUTH LAKE - Do you realize because SO FEW voters took the time and responsibility to VOTE in the municipal elections - YOU NOW HAVE A ‘MUSLIM’ on the City Council!!! What A SHAME!!!!!”

The comments, since deleted, referred to Southlake Councilman Shahid Shafi, who is Muslim.

The school board will meet in executive session at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Education Center boardroom, 350 Keller Parkway.

Bryce Nieman, a district spokesman, said in an email that the “Keller ISD’s Legal Department is currently researching and working to provide the Board with all of the options available to it.”

Nieman referred to a board policy on removing a trustee and said officials are trying to determine whether it can be applied.

The policy states, in part, that a member may be removed for “incompetency,” which means: a. gross ignorance of official duties; b. gross carelessness in the discharge of those duties; or c. unfitness or inability to promptly and properly discharge official duties because of a serious physical or mental defect that did not exist at the time of election.

Haussmann, reached via text message Tuesday, said she didn’t have any comment. She said she might have more to say on Wednesday.

She has previously told the Star-Telegram that she does not plan to step down.

Haussmann also apologized for her comments, saying: “I made an extremely inappropriate comment on Facebook and I wanted to publicly apologize for my statement. I am sorry for the hurt that I have caused. … Several people had complained to me about the changes in the council make-up and my statement was in relation to that.”

She said she was “very embarrassed” and attributed the comment to burnout after she campaigned so hard for the school board.

Haussmann was elected in May.

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