By Jon King /

Following a contentious meeting of the Howell Public Schools Board of Education earlier this week, there have been questions raised about an effort by one local elected official to encourage the mass turnout.

Monday’s meeting featured nearly two hours of public comment from residents, many of whom had no connection to the Howell school district, urging the board to reject a proposed addition to the health curriculum that would have added a variety of mental health issues as well as LGBTQ+ awareness. The speakers at times became unruly, refusing to be limited to the three-minute time limit, and often directly accusing board members and the superintendent of trying to indoctrinate their children.

However, the turnout and anti-LGBTQ agenda may have at least been partly connected to a public request by Livingston County Board Chair Wes Nakagiri, who emailed a message to supporters titled “DEI and CRT Update” in which he listed both Monday’s meeting of the Howell school board and the upcoming July 26th meeting of the Brighton Area Schools Board of Education and states, “DIVERSITY EQUITY AND INCLUSION (DEI) and IMPLICIT BIAS TRAINING, MASK MANDATES, COVID TESTING, UNIVERSAL MENTAL HEALTH SCREENINGS, LGBTQ ED & CRITICAL RACE THEORY in Livingston County Schools!!!”

The message then goes on to say that “High Impact Parent Participation at recent board meetings is making a difference. ..We will not stop standing up for our kids’ best interests!” Nakagiri has made opposition to Diversity Equity & Inclusion a top priority this year, most recently sinking the reappointment of the county’s representative to the Huron Clinton Metropolitan Authority’s Board of Directors for his perceived lack of opposition to the Metroparks DEI initiatives.

He will also be the featured speaker at an event next week in Brighton that will focus on these very issues. Set for Tuesday, July 20th at the American Spirit Centre, the meeting is being held by a group called Protect Our Republic which states that “DEI is being discussed, promoted, and implemented in businesses, local, state and federal government, schools and media.” It then asks, “Is DEI in our schools? How can you find out more?”

A request for comment has been made to Nakagiri about the effort to encourage what has turned out to be disruptive participation at school board meetings but has yet to be returned.