Plymouth-Canton School Board Trustees facing possible recall
Sep. 3, 2023 PLYMOUTH VOICE.
Plymouth Michigan News
Petitions to recall three of the seven members of the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools Board of Education were filed on August 7, 2023 with the Wayne County Elections Commission. Lauren Christenson, Patrick Kehoe, and Shawn Wilson were named in the recall petitions.
A clarity hearing on the petition language before Wayne County Election Commission was held on August 17, 2023 and the first submission was subsequently rejected for clarity. The Election Commission meeting agenda stated the petitioner was Howard L. Ring.
The recall campaign was reportedly prompted by objectors to the PCCS school board decision to retire the Canton High School arrowhead logo and eliminate the name “Chiefs” over concerns about cultural appropriation.
Against the objection of many parents and school alum, trustees approved the measure with a 6-1 vote during a contentious July 11 board meeting. Three of the board ‘s seven trustees were newly elected and could not be recalled. Trustee Sheryl Picard cast the sole dissenting vote against the measure.
According to state law, recall petition language must be presented to the county clerk before the recall petition may be circulated and must be factual and clear and based on the officer’s conduct during his or her current term of office. The reasons for the recall printed on the recall petition must be exactly the same as the reasons approved by the County Election Commission.
Last year students delivered a presentation to the school board arguing that the arrowhead logo and Chief’s name were disrespectful to Native Americans. Results of a May 2023 community school district supported survey – with 6,206 respondents – showed a majority of community respondents were in favor of keeping the the Chiefs name and image.
According to board members their decision was the result of years of discussion and requests by some students who felt the name was offensive.
To get a recall on the ballot in Michigan, recall supporters must collect signatures equal in number to 25 percent of voters in the jurisdiction in the last gubernatorial election. They have 60 days between the collection of the first signature and the collection of the last signature on the petition.
Recall petitions are eligible to collect signatures for 180 days.