Deadline Detroit | Birmingham school board meeting marred by audience member giving Nazi salute

The email sent to parents and members of the Birmingham Public Schools community on Wednesday was sad and specific:


File photo of a German Nazi rally (Photo: Wikipedia)

“Last night at our regular Board of Education meeting, a member of the public gestured and gave a Nazi salute after an individual made a public comment.”

At the meeting at Groves High School, there was an intense debate among parents about students wearing masks in classrooms. The district had announced the day before that masks would be mandatory at the start of the school year given the high transmission rates of Covid-19 in Oakland County, with the decision to be reviewed in November.

A middle-aged white man invited over to Suzanne Busdiecker, who is Jewish, and two African-American women. The group attended the meeting to applaud the hiding rule and two of them had just finished addressing the council.

“It’s a hate crime and it happened on school property,” said Busdiecker, mother of a student entering college after a year of virtual learning. “I don’t take it lightly.”

Beverly Hills Police say they are investigating.

Busdiecker, however, questioned their response, noting that although officers said they ordered the man to leave, he lingered. She also felt like they were trying to minimize what had happened. After questioning the man, officers told him he made the move to compare the masking rules to fascism.

She also took issue with the district’s response, which she said did not commit to withdrawing him from further meetings.

“There’s no consequence for him and I feel like if you don’t nip that in the bud, it allows this stuff to happen,” she said. “Something has to be done.”

A similar incident recently happened at a school board meeting outside of Pittsburgh.

The district did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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