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School board discusses BLM posts in secret

ALPENA — The Alpena Public Schools Board of Education went behind closed doors to discuss a complaint against board member Steven Donajkowski, who has been criticized for reposting Facebook memes some saw as racist.

No action was taken once the board emerged from the closed session, although board President Gordon Snow said the board is developing a statement to share with the public during Monday’s board meeting.

He expects the board to take action on the statement then.

“Then it will be part of the board’s formal minutes, and that’s where we are with that right now,” Snow said.

Donajkowski asked the board to discuss the matter in closed session, which is allowed under a provision in the Michigan Open Meetings Act.

Donajkowski said he will not resign from the board, nor would he pull his name from the Nov. 3 ballot, where he is seeking reelection.

“I feel very confident in the way I have conducted myself at all board meetings,” he said Thursday. “I have never once come across as racist or anything. I am very aware of the racial inequalities in the world.”

Donajkowski was recently criticized for memes he reposted on his Facebook page, which was open to public viewing, that depicted controversial commentary on race and the Black Lives Matter movement. The memes were posted as recently as May.

Some residents believe the posts to be racist and brought his comments to the board’s attention in July.

He said his Facebook posts were interpreted the wrong way.

Crystal Nelson can be reached at 989-358-5687 or cnelson@thealpenanews.com.

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