Stewart should resign from board post

He lacks the diplomacy needed to serve the students and parents of Minneapolis.

Last week, it was revealed that a Web site negatively portraying Tammy Lee, a candidate in the 5th Congressional District, was created by Chris Stewart, a newly elected member of the Minneapolis Board of Education.

The Web site created a ruckus a day before the midterm elections. In a design that emulated the official campaign Web site of Tammy Lee, the look-alike was filled with racist and sexist remarks and insinuated her ties to white supremacy movements, even providing a link to a Ku Klux Klan Web site.

In his apology, Stewart claimed the site was a joke and was never supposed to be seen by the public. He indicated that he intends to carry out his job despite the controversy.

Stewart needs to resign from his position immediately. Freedom of speech is a powerful right, but, as a role model to students in Minnesota’s largest school district, he cannot engage in such questionable extracurricular activities. The board members, besides their governing roles, act as liaisons to the people of Minneapolis, and a man who dabbles in racism is not fit to govern one of this state’s most diverse school districts.

Any hope of forcing Stewart out of his position was quickly dismissed; board members can only lose their posts if they resign. To make matters worse, current board members have been relatively mum on the issue. At Tuesday’s meeting they chastised his actions, but no one called for his resignation.

Minneapolis has had to deal with a multitude of difficulties in recent years from budget shortfalls, teacher firings by the dozen and the controversial resignation of a superintendent. The board now has an opportunity to take a united stand and call for Stewart’s resignation. It would represent a fresh start and a new standard for this perpetually troubled school district.

If Chris Stewart truly cares about Minneapolis public schools, he will realize how important his resignation is to the students and parents of this district.