Commentary: More to the story of 'weapon' at Menahga School Board meeting
At the Aug. 21 Menahga School Board meeting, we had some guests who obviously wanted to catch me by surprise and try to discredit me and others in the community that are not afraid to stand up to the bullying. Showing up at the last minute and getting added to the agenda is a good precedent; I hope others are given the same opportunity for a rebuttal.
Ernest Huhta accused me and others of using distorted and unfactual commentary and said he, Curtis, and former superintendent Stoeckman were there to answer questions and "correct the narrative" of the no trespass order. Huhta read his three-page manifesto, Hasbargen read his two-page "affidavit" and Stoeckman said he would answer questions.
At the January 2016 board meeting, Huhta was visibly upset when he found out two board members had prior knowledge that Stoeckman was rescinding the no trespass order unbeknownst to him or the rest of the board. In fact, Ernest even accused Al Peterson and Andrea Haverinen of violating an ethics policy for not telling the rest of the board. Now, Huhta admits he was told by Deb Lenzen of the rescinding in December 2015 and admits he was involved in stopping it from getting sent out.
In his "fact sheet" given to the school attorney and the Menahga police, Mr. Stoeckman stated that I had refused to show him what was in my pocket so he asked me to leave the building. He then sent school staff an email again saying I refused to show what was in my pocket. Mr Stoeckman was informed by Al Peterson that my story differed from his and I did offer to show him the tool and could prove it. Within 24 hours Mr. Stoeckman submitted his resignation and told several people he was rescinding the no trespass order! In fact he even told Deb Lenzen not to notify the rest of the board until after she sent out the recinding letter to me and police chief. Hmmm? Mr. Stoeckman now admits I did offer him the tool but he refused to examine it. So which is the truth and which is the lie? Did I refuse as he told the lawyer and police or did I actually offer to show it to him? From recorded board discussions it appears the "refusal" was instrumental in justifying the trespass order, but that was based on the lie. They spent thousands needlessly for legal advice to justify their actions after the fact! Funny how their story changed as more facts came out.
Curtis Hasbargen read his "affidavit" in which he documented that he saw me with the "knife" during at least 10 different school meetings. He goes on to state he had brought his concerns to both Superintendents Mary Klamm and Allen Stoeckman. Apparently they did not agree with Curtis's assessment of it being a "weapon" or they would have brought it to my attention. If I considered it a "weapon" I certainly would not be carrying it openly wherever I went and if Curtis or the administration had a problem with it, why didn't they just talk to me. Why wait and try making a big deal out of it? What was the real motive? By his own admission Curtis was waiting for this opportunity. I think I now know how and why this whole thing came together so quickly. There is much more to this story in the weeks leading up to it.