SF School Board Members Receive Threats
by Rachel Skytta, Reporter
November 20, 2013 5:22 PM
Sioux Falls School Board members have been flooded with calls, voicemails, emails, and even death threats this week.
They say it all has to do with misinformation that was published after last week's meeting, where one of the topics was the Pledge of Allegiance in Sioux Falls schools.
Now, members of the board say they just want to set the record straight after what has been an exhausting week.
"All five school board members should be lined up and shot."
Board member Kent Alberty says this is just one of the many threats Sioux Falls School Board members have been dealing with over the past week.
"When you come home at night and your answering machine has 15, 20, 30 calls," said Alberty.
Alberty says all five board members have been getting these threats, and it began with what he says was inaccurate information posted by a local media outlet.
"That the school board had dumped the Pledge of Allegiance at the high school level. And that is just simply not true," said Alberty.
Last week, the school board voted to make the Pledge of Allegiance mandatory in all Sioux Falls middle schools. A policy that had only existed in elementary schools.
"The middle schools have been saying it as a matter of practice for a number of years, and we just decided that we needed to make the policy reflect the practice that had been in place," said Alberty.
A group of local veterans were at the school board meeting when the vote took place. They asked the board to expand the policy into high schools as well. But after some discussion, board members decided to only include the middle schools.
"There was some poor reporting that went on," said Board President, Doug Morrison.
Morrison says the Pledge hasn't been required in high school classrooms for decades.
"It is certainly up to the discretion of any teacher at the high school level that would like to have the Pledge said in their classroom. They have that right," said Alberty.
But before the board could set the record straight, the story got picked up by Fox News.
"There were inaccuracies in what the story was that was told on Fox," said Alberty.
That's when the angry calls started coming in. Eventually, the board members had to remove their phone numbers from the website.
"They're disgusted with us for making this decision, and that we're not patriotic, and things of that nature," said Morrison.
However, he's doing his best to be understanding.
'They're going off misinformation. If what they heard is really what would happen, you could understand how they would be upset," said Morrison.
Board members say they had more than 100 calls come in on the matter. Those calls have started slowing down over the past few days.
Morrison says despite the threats he feels safe, and does not think additional security will be required at future board meetings.