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School board meeting features death threats, new hires

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RONAN — The Ronan School Board’s June 11 meeting began with an emotional speech by high school principal Tom Stack. Stack said he’d received two death threats on Friday in the wake of last week’s media firestorm regarding guest speaker Gerald Molen. Stack canceled Molen’s speech after several community members voiced their concerns over Molen’s Republican views. Fearing for the safety of his family, Stack removed them from his house from Friday to Sunday. 

“I’ve been called a Nazi, a Marxist, and things I won’t say here,” Stack said. “This has become about politics and the armed services, not what happened.” 

Stack said he contacted local law enforcement regarding these threats. The Ronan Police Department could not be reached for comment on the matter.  

Several teachers and board members voiced their support for both Stack and his decision. Graduating senior Sierra Smith thanked Stack for his years of constant support and wished him luck in his new job. 

“I support him fully,” Smith said. “He’s behind his students 100 percent and does everything he can for us. He definitely goes the extra mile.”

Other school board business included a wrap-up of the academic year. According to the board meeting packet, both enrollment and test scores are up from previous years, and the district came in under budget for the fourth year in a row. 

All district staff members were re-hired. K. William Harvey Elementary will receive new teachers Peggy Rowe and Shianne Dumont as well as new home-school coordinator Jan McAvoy. Pablo Elementary hired third grade teacher Sunny Benn. Ken Bigby was hired as the new drivers education instructor at Ronan High School, and Lucky Larson will return as activities director for the high school.

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