Dayton calls on school board member to resign over comment about Muslims

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A school board member who appeared to make disparaging remarks about Muslims should resign from his post, Gov. Mark Dayton says.

Columbia Heights School board member Grant Nichols is accused of making comments in a Facebook post on Sept. 6 criticizing Muslims for their "unsanitary" use of bathrooms.

The comment sparked a student walkout on Wednesday, after the school board failed to remove him from office or censure him at a meeting the night before.

Now the Governor has weighed in, and after a visit to the school Friday he said he believes Nichols should be forced to step down, according to MPR.

He also praised students for their walkout, saying they should be proud of their peaceful walk out.

The Star Tribune notes Nichols has denied he posted the comments, and said someone else must have used his phone to post it. He has since declined requests for an interview.

Below is an image of the comment, which has since been deleted, made by a user labeled as "Grant Nichols."

https://twitter.com/TimPostMPRnews/status/643791174705086464?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

According to the school's website, Nichols was elected to the board last year and serves as a volunteer basketball and baseball coach for the Columbia Heights Recreational Department.

The Star Tribune describes Columbia Heights as historically having been an "immigrant enclave," but it has nonetheless undergone a "dramatic transformation" in the past 15 years, with the number of people of color living there more than doubling, and more than quarter speaking a first language other than English in their home.

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