WHITEFISH BAY — Whitefish Bay residents voted overwhelmingly to pass the school tax levy Wednesday night, thwarting a plan from an email to vote no.
Hundreds turned out to the annual meeting, and on the way in, they passed a sign that says, "Teach Truth."
"It is so important that we make sure there is representation in our education where kids can see themselves and hear their stories," said Nicolo Onorato, who was holding up part of the sign.
TMJ4 News obtained an email sent by a Gmail account with the name "whitefishbayparents." It was addressed to "concerned" Whitefish Bay parents. The email reads in part, "See below for some examples of inappropriate books in Cumberland School library, where Kindergarteners to 5th graders can read this indoctrination material."
The email goes on to say, "We must stand up for our children and demand transparency for what is being taught to our children. We can start by voting “NO” to the annual tax levy."
The email lists five books: Not My Idea, Ghost Boys, Something Happened In Our Town, The Jacket, and Julián Is a Mermaid. Four of the books' descriptions indicate their stories center around race, and one is about a boy who wants to be a mermaid.
The email urged parents to show up to Wednesday's meeting as a show of support and vote no on the tax levy, which sets up the school district's budget. Adults who live in the district and come to the meeting can vote.
A parent whose name was listed on the email said she had legitimate questions about the district's budget.
"I am extremely disappointed however by the vicious personal attacks that I and others have received by trying to seek transparency in the budget and other board policies," Molly Mulcahy said in the meeting.
But not everyone agreed with the email. A standing ovation followed this Jerome Hanson's comments.
"Freedom of speech and opinion are core values of our country, and censorship has no place in our society," Hanson said in the meeting.
TMJ4 News spoke to the superintendent and school board president before the meeting, and both said they were not aware of the email.