Contentious books brought up to Pequot Lakes School Board

Six public speakers brought up the issue, with more than 30 people in attendance

PL School Board 4-17.jpg
Pequot Lakes School.
PineandLakes Echo Journal file photo

PEQUOT LAKES — The reading material available to young students was a point of contention at the Pequot Lakes School Board meeting Monday, April 17.

Six district residents spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting to take issue with certain books allegedly found in the library at Eagle View Elementary School.

One parent mentioned a book with “appalling” use of profanities and other words traditionally deemed unfit for young children. The rest of the speakers brought up books with references to current hot-button political issues like gender identity.

“These children have not yet hit puberty,” one parent said. “They're not questioning their gender identity, unless that idea has been put in their head by an adult or by a book in the library.”

Another speaker said the books in question are “the work of Satan,” while another said students are “being used as some kind of political puppets.”


This occurring solely in the public forum portion of the meeting, the board took no action on the topic, nor did they discuss it further.

“The Pequot Lakes School District staff will continue to support all students,” Superintendent Kurt Stumpf said in an email after the meeting. “As with any concern, there are policies, procedures and/or protocols in place.”

During the meeting, the board approved a vision to the school district’s current budget. The main change sees the district’s revenue decreasing from $1,401,863 to $1,225,000, meaning district officials expect to operate with a deficit of $63,987.

In a fun bit of the evening, Pequot Lakes High School speech team participant Ryan Fritz gave the board and those in attendance an example of his skills as he was presented with a topic at the beginning of the meeting — China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” — and prepared for 30 minutes before returning to give a 10-minute speech on the topic, much to the delight of the board and crowd of more than 30 people.

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In other action, the board:

  • Approved the speech team’s trip to the National Speech and Debate Tournament in Phoenix in mid-June.
  • Adopted a resolution non-renewing the contract of probationary teacher Melissa Hannah. Stumpf said this action is not uncommon for the district.
  • Conducted a second reading of a proposed change to the school policy regarding fund balances, as well as first readings on policies regarding student school board representatives, overdose medication and volunteers. The board will conduct three readings on each of these policies before taking action.
  • Accepted 12 donations to the district totaling $14,242.95, along with 44 donations to the student activity fund account totaling $30,936.42. All but six of the donations to the student activity fund account are designated for the robotics team.

As a part of its consent agenda, the board accepted the resignations of middle school volleyball coach Rachel Sullivan, prom co-advisors Haley Richards and Sarah Johnson, cook helper Mary Morrison, early childhood teacher Jennifer Harves and fifth grade social studies teacher William Siglen.
The board also approved the hiring of head tennis coach Mindi Brill, high school social studies teacher Charles Druar, high school science teacher Nathan DeChaine, middle school special education teacher Tiffany Abrams, cook helper Debra Heroux and middle school special education teacher Krista Ziemer.

Dan Determan, sports writer/staff writer, may be reached at 218-855-5879 or Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at

Dan Determan has been a reporter for the Echo Journal since 2014, primarily covering sports at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus
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