Keller ISD censures trustee over controversial comment

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on June 9, 2014 at 6:41 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 10 at 12:50 PM

KELLER — Keller Independent School District trustees voted 5-1 Monday night to censure their colleague, Jo Lynn Haussmann.

"I truly apologize for what was said," Haussmann told the board and about 150 people gathered for the special meeting. "I'll do everything I can to regain your trust."

"I was very embarrassed as a resident and employee when I saw her statement," said Lucy Kubo.

That statement came in a Facebook post by Haussmann, Keller ISD's newest school board member. She wrote:

"Do you realize because so few voters took the time and responsibility to vote in the municipal election, you now have a Muslim on [Southlake] city council? What a shame!"

Haussmann has since apologized for the statement, including twice at the meeting Monday night. After asking for forgiveness, she reminded the board that the Constitution does protect her freedom of speech.

"An apology seems like a slap on the wrist to just accept that and move forward," said Yasmine Salem Hamdan, calling on Haussmann to resign. "We need to take action and take it now."

Of the 36 public speakers at the meeting, 30 of them blasted Haussmann. Some called her comments bigoted and prejudiced and questioned her effectiveness as a trustee moving forward.

Haussmann rarely made eye contact with her critics, but a half-dozen people supported the 61-year-old Republican, who won her seat recently with more than half the vote.

"We believe then and we believe now that her dedication and service will benefit the children of the school district," said Joel Starnes, a Keller resident.

As the school board adjourned into executive session to consider Haussmann's fate, she stopped to greet several supporters.

When News 8 asked whether any of the pleas to resign swayed her decision at all, Haussmann ignored the question and walked out of the room.

The board decided to censure Haussmann after almost 90 minutes in executive session.

Trustees had few options. They could not remove her unless they took a case to court, which would likely be expensive.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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