Columbia Heights school board member rejects board's request to resign

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Grant Nichols, the Columbia Heights School Board member under fire for anti-Muslim comments made on his Facebook account, rejected calls at Tuesday night's school board meeting for him to resign, the Star Tribune reports.

An overflow crowd, many of them carrying signs opposing Nichols, attended the board meeting, and about 50 people spoke – with nearly all of them urging Nichols to step down.

The full school board voted in favor of a resolution recommending Nichols resign because of the controversial remarks. But Nichols said he would not do so, according to KARE 11.

The comment, which criticized the bathroom habits of Muslims and called them “unsanitary,” appeared on Nichols’ Facebook account in early September. It has since been deleted.

Nichols has denied writing the comment, and said again Tuesday night someone at his workplace used his phone to post the Facebook comment under his name.

He declined to identify that person, but added he does not agree with the sentiments expressed in the post.

The controversy led to an investigation and a special board meeting last week, when members came up one vote short on a motion to force Nichols' resignation. Since that motion failed, the board could only act on a recommendation Tuesday night, the Star Tribune explains.

Students and staff at Columbia Heights High School staged a walkout last week to protest, and Gov. Mark Dayton visited the school and called on Nichols to resign.

The enrollment of Columbia Heights High School is about 75 percent students of color.

The school board has one open seat which will be filled early next year, and Muslim leaders say they hope someone from their community will be chosen, the Star Tribune notes.

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