By Shelby Stewart-Soldan
Brandon Twp. —The recently selected superintendent of Brandon Schools has been named a defendant in a federal lawsuit filed on May 23.
Dan Gilbertson, along with the Croswell-Lexington School District, the Croswell-Lexington board of education, and another administrator, are being sued due to alleged racial harassment of a student.
The lawsuit, filed by the parents on behalf of their student, alleges that the district knew of bullying and racial harassment against their student and did not take action to prevent it. The family alleges that their student had endured harassment from other students since 2018 and that it forced their student out of the district.
Gilberston was selected as the new superintendent of Brandon on June 6 with a unanimous vote from the school board. The permanent position had been open since October of 2020 when Matt Outlaw stepped down, and since then the district has had two interim superintendents. The current interim is Dr. Gary Richards, who began in February and will be with the district until the end of June. During a special meeting on April 4, the Brandon Board of Education selected the six candidates for the first round of interviews for the superintendent position. Between April 25-27, the Brandon Board of Education interviewed six superintendent candidates.
“Based upon the extensive search process, stakeholder meetings and due diligence, we are confident in Mr. Gilbertson’s commitment to educational excellence and providing leadership where all students are valued, supported and encouraged, including our values surrounding diversity, equity, inclusion and school safety,” said Diane Salter, Brandon school board president. “Our stakeholder responses were that they wanted Mr. Gilbertson here in Brandon. We are not in a position and do not comment on litigation involving unrelated school districts. We are directing you to the Cros-Lex school district for information.”
In a statement to the community on May 24, Gilbertson said the district does not tolerate harassment of any sort.
“The Croswell-Lexington Community Schools has an anti-discrimination policy, and it is enforced with fidelity,” he said. “We do not tolerate harassment of any sort, including racial harassment. When brought to our attention, we thoroughly investigate all allegations of harassment, including but not limited to racial harassment. If any alleged harassment is found to have occurred, it is immediately and appropriately addressed and stopped, with consequences to the perpetrators as warranted.”
By Shelby Stewart-Soldan