DEARBORN HEIGHTS — Dearborn Heights D7 School Board Trustee Mandy Diroff resigned suddenly during the Jan. 5 school board meeting.
In a recording played by a parent, Diroff read her resignation letter, saying she has been feeling irrelevant by the board president, Carrie Harleton, whom she identified only by title.
“It is with extreme regret that I resign from the D7 School Board effective today,” the letter read. “During this past year, I have been made to feel irrelevant and ignored by the Board president and some other members of the Board, no matter how many different ways I’ve tried to insert myself.”
Diroff’s letter went on to say that if the district truly believed in inclusion, she wouldn’t feel this way.
“If we are a district, and especially a Board of Education who truly believes in diversity, equity and inclusion, I wouldn’t be feeling this way,” she said. “Inclusion is more than just when the president has needed to, or just felt like including me on that particular day.”
With Diroff’s term ending in 2024, she apologized to the voters who voted for her.
“This is not at all what I want,” she said. “However, after a full year of this treatment, I realize if it hasn’t changed by now, it isn’t going to. I understand that I am the problem and not part of the team, unless I go along to get along, I never will be. Hopefully the governance training will help all to realize that everyone needs to be brought along by the president, heard and, most importantly, valued in order to have a great team. I do hope that the board can find a new member that all, especially the president, are willing to work with and include in everything, so that you can be the true and valid team we all want for our students. My best wishes to D7 always.”
During public comment, parent Heather Sanders, who played the recording of Diroff reading her resignation letter, said that she is sad and disappointed.
If we are a district, and especially a Board of Education who truly believes in diversity, equity and inclusion, I wouldn’t be feeling this way. — Mandy Diroff
“I am so sad and I am so very disappointed that I had to be the messenger of more bad news for our district,” she said. “I totally understand and respect Mandy’s feelings, though. I mean, we’ve all been watching it happen for a year now. Today, I can say without a doubt that I am not proud to be a part of the D7 school district.”
Sanders also said that all board members should be disappointed and ashamed.
“I have watched this board have issues for years, not just with each other, but with past board members as well,” she said. “I’ve been friends with some of you, good friends. Others, we’ve just known each other for a long time and some I’ve just met not too long ago. I have to say, I have watched some of you grow as board members and as humans. There were many times I was proud to watch that happen. Unfortunately, I’ve also watched while some of you have been not the best board members nor the best humans.”
Sanders said that under the current board president, the district has lost a lot of good talent.
“In the past year, under the current president, this board has been the cause of many resignations throughout the district,” she said. “This board bullied and harassed Jen Mast so much that she resigned from a job she loved with her whole heart. This board has ostracized, shut down and blatantly ignored the most knowledgeable board member we had, Mandy Diroff, until she now has resigned. What a huge hit our district keeps taking just so someone can continue in a position that is clearly doing no good for us. I am scared to see how many more resignations come our way now over the next year. When I helped her (Carrie Harleton) get elected, this is not at all the legacy I thought she’d leave behind. I had great ideas of all the amazing things she would do. I have never been so wrong about someone in my whole entire life. Good luck D7, we sure are gonna need it.”
Diroff declined to comment to The Arab American News. The board has 30 days to fill the vacancy.