Woodland 50 school board denounces racist attacks directed at board member

Updated 3/23/2021 6:31 PM

The Woodland Elementary District 50 school board has denounced racist threats that officials say have been directed at a board member.

The action came in the form of a proclamation, and while no one is mentioned in it by name, school board President Carla Little said at the March 18 board meeting that fellow board member Renea Amen, who is Black, was a target of racist speech and bullying.


"I would definitely personally apologize to Renea Amen who was really the target of a lot of this threatening behavior," Little said before the board voted on the proclamation. "I'm just very sorry that you had to endure that kind of behavior."

The proclamation was sent to parents on Friday in Superintendent Lori Casey's weekly update, and a news release about it was sent to the media and posted on the district's social media Tuesday afternoon.

When asked for more details about the threats, district spokeswoman Brooke Hagstrom said they appeared on social media but that she had not seen them.

Little said the board decided to issue the proclamation after Sandra Leconte, the Lake County Branch president of the NAACP, said during public comment last month that racist threats had been made against one District 50 board member in particular.

Little, who is also Black, said the school board wanted to come together and denounce the racist behavior. Little said the board wanted to elevate people who have a voice in the community, but stressed that members don't tolerate bullying, whether it is of students, staff or board members.

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"We just really felt obligated to speak out," she said at the meeting. "We wanted to stand up and say we won't tolerate it. It's not who the Woodland District 50 community is, so we thought this resolution was very timely."

The proclamation states that any correspondence that threatens the safety of the district's faculty, staff, administration or school board members will be referred to law enforcement.

"Hateful messages will not receive consideration or a response," the board's proclamation reads.

A spokeswoman for the Gurnee Police Department did not immediately return requests for comment about whether the department had received any of the threats and had taken any action.

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