Duluth School Board member accused of assault and making racist remarks

By KBJR News 1

June 10, 2014 Updated Jun 10, 2014 at 9:56 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The Duluth School Board voted Tuesday night to move forward with an investigation against one of their own, accused of assault and making racist remarks.

Board members allege Johnston made racist comments toward staffers, that he assaulted School Board Chairman Mike Miernicke and Superintendent Bill Gronseth, that he abused his authority as a school board member, and that he's violated the Code of Ethics Board Policy.

Johnston says prior to the meeting he received a letter from the board saying he would be the subject of the school board's closed session meeting Tuesday night.

And at the meeting Johnston said that members of the board were on a "witch-hunt" to get him.

He says all charges are "bogus," and adds that the school administration has been out to get him for a long time.

"That they're actually calling me a racist remarks, I mean that totally is silly. I think it's very sad that the school, they've been stooping pretty low, but this is certainly a new low," said Johnston.

While school board member Bill Westholm said, "this is a process that we really need to go through in order to, ya know, not only get to the bottom of what has been alleged, but it works in favor of the board and Mr. Johnston, and that's why we go through this investigation."

Johnston says the personal vendetta he feels from the board is not only against him, but also against his wife, who is also an employee of the Duluth district

Board members voted five to two to move ahead with the investigation.

They don't know how long it will take.

There are a few potential outcomes.

Board members say if nothing comes from the allegations the investigation will end and Johnston will remain on the board.

However, if the allegations are found to be legitimate, Johnston could be removed from the board altogether.

Elsa Robins