Waukee School Board President Lori Lyon took a few minutes during Monday night’s school board meeting to explain why she told a parent to sue the district. You can read about that incident here:
During her comments on Monday, Lyon offered no denial of advising the parent to sue the district. Instead, she wanted to provide “context” for her telling the parent to sue the district.
Lyon called the news of her telling a parent to sue the district an “allegation” and then never once disputed telling the parent to sue the district — which would mean it was not a mere “allegation” but a fact.
She said people need to know the “context” for what was said.
“The past 20 months has been difficult for all of us,” Lyon said. “School boards have been at the forefront of many of the social issues that we’ve seen play out in the news and in the social media. As board president for the past year, I can tell you it’s been one of the most challenging times of my life.”
She said “hardly a week” has gone by where someone hasn’t emailed her upset about an issue, threatening to sue or take other legal action against her or the district if they did not get what they want.
“It’s my responsibility to respond to the public with as much transparency as possible,” she said. “The board obviously can’t please everyone with decisions that are made.”
She said the board has always tried to mitigate risks for the district and avoid litigation or other legal claims.
“My very public votes to this effect are on record and speak for themselves,” she said.
She said there are times when litigation cannot be avoided.
“Unfortunately, amicable, satisfying resolutions are not always reached,” Lyon said. “In most situations when someone asks where they are to go next, or says that they have no other recourse but to sue the district, I may be in the situation where I have no other choice but to tell the person that they need to do what’s best for them.”
Lyon said she cannot stop anyone from suing the district as she is just one vote on the board and doesn’t have the power to avoid litigation with her lone vote.
“My motive has always been to protect and serve this school district,” she said. “The public needs to know that I do not act with ill intent. I also understand there are times when conflict cannot be avoided. And if someone feels that litigation is their only recourse, I’m not going to say otherwise.”
Lyon said the election cycle was “unexpectedly hard” on her and her family. She said her hope is the board will work diligently toward reconciliation and the community will exercise grace and find peace.