By Tom Tolen/

The Brighton Board of Education delved into uncharted territory Monday evening when it conducted one of the regular meetings it conducts to dispense with school district business.

It was uncharted because it was the first time in the history of the district that the board held a public meeting online. Such meetings are taking place all over the state and country in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer on March 18th issued an executive order suspending the Open Meetings Act, which requires that certain meetings of local government bodies - such as school boards, township boards and city and village councils - be open to and accessible by the public.

The Brighton school board meeting was online, but it was open to the general public since anyone with a computer, laptop, iPad or Smartphone could connect to it, hear and view the discussions and decisions being made and even comment during the call-to-the-public portion of the meeting The only ones physically present for the meeting were Superintendent Greg Gray and his secretary, Starr Acromite. The Board of Education was present electronically by way of an online hookup.

The main order of business was approving a contract with the city and its police dept. for the police liaison officer for the next three years. The district will pay the police dept. $84,513 per year to cover the officer’s salary. The person hired will work from the start of the school year until summer recess. During the over two months remaining in the year, the officer’s salary will be paid by the police dept.

The fully-sworn and uniformed officer will have an office at the high school and will be responsible for enforcing the law in the school and on school grounds. He or she will be tasked with improving the relationship between students, staff, the community and police. The person will work with students both as an officer and a mentor and will be encouraged to give occasional instructional and public service programs during the school year. The officer will coordinate safety protocols with staff with the goal of providing a safe and secure school environment. The person will also coordinate police dept. services at extracurricular activities such as sports events. The board voted unanimously to approve the police contract, which will run from Sept. 2020 through June 2023.

Asked afterward, Gray told WHMI that he though the online meeting, “went well.” With schools currently closed during the coronavirus crisis, Gray said the district is expanding its online teaching opportunities for students, and another update on extended online learning opportunities will be communicated to district parents next week. For more information regarding online learning, go to the BAS website (, click on “coronavirus information update” and then extended learning opportunities for school closure under “curriculum updates”.

The next meeting of the Board of Education, which will also be online, will be on Monday, April 13th at 7 p.m. in the Brighton Education and Community Center, called the BECC building.