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Menomonie School Board votes to censure member behind outburst

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Menom School Board

Menomonie (WQOW) - In a 5-4 vote, the Menomonie School Board has decided to censure board member Jim Swanson.

The vote came during a meeting on Friday morning.

While the school board was discussing plans for getting kids back in the classroom at a meeting on Monday night, board member Swanson pounded on the desk while shouting profanities at board President David Styer.

Menomonie School Board documents say a member can be censured if their "behavior and/or actions are not meeting the expectations of the board."

A censure if a formal expression of disapproval of a member's actions. It does not remove the member from office. According to the censure document, the board has also requested for Swanson to resign.

Swanson gave a statement at the start of the meeting to the board to express his regret.

"I am sorry for my inappropriate and unproductive choice of language in the meeting," said Swanson. "The safety of our entire community depends on the safety of our children, and I intend to move forward by continuing to advocate for student safety in a respectable, responsible, and scientifically accurate manner our community deserves."

Although a vote was reached, it did not come without controversy. Following the apology, several board members expressed their frustration with Swanson's actions.

"When we returned to order after that 15-minute break, Jim could've spoke at that point and said "here's what I'm trying to say, here's where I was going," said fellow board member Charlie Schneider. "Instead, he again acted like a fourth grader."

Some members shared this is not the first confrontational incident with Swanson since he joined the board, but some suggest the controversy has been built up due to a hostile culture within the board in recent years.

"I don't think what he did was okay," said fellow board member Tricia Thompson. "But I'm also of the opinion that what I've witnessed, it's been a hostile environment and honestly, I've never been a part of a board, ever, that has acted this way."

It is unclear if Swanson will indeed resign. The board has also directed the district's superintendent to file a disorderly conduct complaint to the Menomonie Police Department on it's behalf.

Clint Berge

Clint Berge is the Social Media & Digital Content Manager for Eau Claire’s Own WQOW News 18.
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Evan Hong

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