Trustees in the Keller Independent School District voted Monday night to strongly censure a board member for an anti-Muslim comment she posted on Facebook, but the board said it could not legally kick her out of office and she refused to step down.
The controversy erupted last month after Keller ISD board member Jo Lynn Haussmann posted a comment on her personal Facebook page which stated, “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!!!!"
Haussmann's comment referred to newly-elected Southlake City Council member Shahid Shafi. Shafi said he doesn't pay much attention to such comments because they do not reflect the country’s views.
The Keller ISD board voted 5 to1, with Haussmann casting the only no vote, to “condemn and repudiate her conduct in the strongest terms,” and also formally asked her to resign.
Haussmann apologized for her comments but sounded largely deaf to the criticism.
"My Internet and phone have gone crazy with people supporting me,” Haussmann said as the meeting began. “I am so thankful."
Haussmann later deleted the Facebook post and apologized.
At the school board meeting, a handful of the 36 speakers said they supported Haussmann's First Amendment right to say what she wants.
Others condemned her comments and called on her to resign.
She looked down and rarely made eye contact with the citizens who spoke.
"This is not about politics or religion,” said longtime Keller teacher Debbie Riggs. “It's about prejudice and bigotry. Anyone who harbors that kind of ill will toward another has no place in Keller ISD."
Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker of Congregation Beth Israel told Muslims the Jewish community supports them.
"We understand just how damaging such comments can be,” Cytron-Walker said. “Even more concerning are the underlying beliefs that lead to such comments."