The Flint, Michigan, school board voted August 17 to pay the legal fees of a board member who physically assaulted a colleague during a meeting, even though lawyers have said such a payment would be illegal.
In March, Danielle Green, who at the time was president of the Flint Community Schools board, allegedly choked colleague Laura MacIntyre, slammed her head into a desk causing a concussion, and punched her until she was bloody, during a 10 a.m. Finance Committee meeting.
“There was no fight. There was no argument. I was chairing a committee meeting and I was attacked, unprovoked,” MacIntyre said soon after. The board voted unanimously to strip Green of the presidency, though it did not have the power to remove her from the board, according to MLive.
On Monday, Green agreed to resign her seat on the board as a condition of a plea deal, MLive reported.
Green did not attend meetings for five months after MacIntyre got a restraining order against her. MacIntyre, who is a “queer” white woman, called the attack by Green, who is black, a hate crime, saying “I use the term ‘queer’ to take back the power,” according to Flint Beat.
But days before the plea deal, she returned for a final chaotic August 17 board meeting in which MacIntyre was stripped of her role as treasurer, and the school board’s current president was abruptly deposed. That empowered a faction sympathetic to Green apparently vying for revenge.
At the end of that meeting, Green made a motion for the school district to pay her legal fees, on the basis that it was also paying the legal costs of her victim.
“I want to make a motion … this is not a court. The court was held for me, under the situation I’m going through ….I’m making a motion that [my legal fees] be paid, the money I spent and the money I may have to spent to be covered also,” she said.
Carol McIntosh, who had just become president, said “I was told … that that was completely illegal. I would like to speak to legal and see if it is illegal. And if it is legal then I would also like the district to pay Mrs. Green’s fees too. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”
“The motion is on the floor to pay Mrs. Green’s legal fees if we’re also going to pay Mrs. MacIntyre’s legal fees,” she said. “I’m looking to see if it is legal. If it is not legal, I’m going to request that the district be refunded.” The board voted four to three to pay Green’s bills.
Schools in Flint — the crime-ridden and impoverished city best known for its contaminated water crisis and the ensuing river of federal money — received $36,000 per student in coronavirus aid, compared to around $1,000 per student for many other districts, MLive reported.
Despite the unheard-of per-pupil funding intended to mitigate the effects of COVID, the school district was not providing in-person classes as recently as February of this year.
The school board met this month with personal cubicles of plexiglass surrounding each of them, apparently as coronavirus protection, even though the room was sparsely populated.