An anti-Muslim comment allegedly posted by a Columbia Heights school board member via his Facebook account will be the focus of a special board meeting Tuesday night.
The comment, which appeared to be written by Grant Nichols and which was posted as a comment on a Star Tribune story shared on Facebook via what appears to be his Facebook account, said Muslims are unsanitary and do not clean up after themselves.
Nichols has denied that he authored the comment, which has since been deleted.
Superintendent Kathy Kelly mentioned complaints about the comment during the board’s regularly scheduled business meeting last Tuesday.
“The school board takes these complaints seriously,” she said.
The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) said Tuesday that it welcomes the investigation.
“As an alumnus of the Columbia Heights school district, I am shocked and appalled by these comments,” Jaylani Hussein, executive director of CAIR-MN, said in a prepared statement. “Columbia Heights has a significant number of Somali and Muslim students whose faith should be respected by district officials.”
Columbia Heights has experienced much demographic change over the years. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the north-metro city’s East African community is growing.
The school board is expected to decide on how to move forward with the investigation of Nichols, who joined the board in January after being elected in November. There are four other members of the school board; one position is vacant.
The public will have the opportunity to comment at a listening session at 5 p.m., followed by the board meeting at 5:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Columbia Heights district center, 1440 49th Av. NE.