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Chelsea School District Joins Social Media Lawsuit

Photo by Crystal Hayduk. Senior Keegan Van Batavia and junior Jordan Nelson, student liaisons to the Chelsea School District Board of Education are pictured with their high school principal, Dr. Nick Angel.

By Crystal Hayduk

The Chelsea School District (CSD) Board of Education unanimously approved the resolution authorizing the district to join the class action lawsuit with Frantz Law Group, APLC against multiple social media platforms.

Board members had discussed particulars of the lawsuit at their meeting on Aug. 21. (Related story here.) School districts across the country have joined the lawsuit because harmful social media negatively affects their mission to educate students. If districts win the lawsuit, they will receive money to help fund preventative education and provide mental health services.  

Superintendent Mike Kapolka updated the board about the bussing problem. He thanked the community for their support and grace as the district manages the driver shortage by instituting route rotations.  

Kapolka said more than 1,000 students navigate the Beach Middle School (BMS) bus transfer area each day. As the school year began, some protocols were broken. Administrators will be changing some processes to improve safety and security, and communicating those changes to families.

Photo by Crystal Hayduk. Kenneth Davis, the new choir director teaching students in seventh through 12th grades. 

Dr. Nick Angel, principal of Chelsea High School (CHS), introduced Kenneth Davis, the new choir director, who will be working with students in grades 7-12. Davis was selected from a pool of 24 candidates during a “laborious interview process,” said Angel, in which his energy and passion for his work and for students was evident.

Davis, a Central Michigan University graduate, most recently served as the secondary vocal director at Brandywine Community Schools, and taught for four years at a huge program in Texas prior to that. Angel said he is excited to announce that Davis went to work immediately to “resurrect Company C,” the district’s show choir program founded by Steve Hinz.  

Angel also introduced junior Jordan Nelson, the new student liaison to the board of education, who is joining senior liaison Keegan Van Batavia. “He’s a Renaissance man,” said Angel, who went on to list some of Nelson’s many roles and accomplishments.

Nelson is a drum major in the marching band, a member of the CHS Theatre Guild, served as a student representative on the district’s reproductive health advisory board, and is the president of the Class of 2025. He earned the Portrait of a Graduate award in 2020 for his social advocacy; and was one of 12 students nationwide accepted to the first Future Presidents of America leadership conference in 2021. Nelson has chaired many student dances, taking “extreme ownership. When I know Jordan is on it, I don’t have to worry,” said Angel.  

During the opportunity for public comment, BMS Principal Matt Ceo introduced Adam Schilt as his interim assistant principal. Schilt has taught English and journalism at CHS for seven years, was a student council advisor, and president of the Chelsea Education Association (the teacher’s bargaining unit).

Hailing from Kentucky, Schilt first came to Detroit to work with Teach for America for two years while pursuing his graduate degree at the University of Michigan. “He distinguished himself among very qualified candidates as someone who is student first, cares about the staff deeply, and cares about education,” said Ceo.

Ceo said he will miss working with Andrea Franco, but knows she is well-qualified to be the new assistant principal at CHS. (Stories highlighting the district’s new administrators will be published in the coming weeks.)              

In other board news:

The board approved the hiring of Wendeline (Wendy) Bolakowski as a science teacher at CHS. The position became available following Eric Swager’s retirement in August. She earned bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering and mathematics.

Bolakowski holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame, and a teaching certificate from Oakland University. She had multiple positive references regarding her knowledge and connections with students and peers.

September Students of the Month (CHS student Caroline Knight and Beach Middle School student Tyson Linde) were introduced. (A feature article about them will be published soon.)

Kapolka acknowledged the anniversary of the tragedy on Sept. 11, 2001. He said, “To honor those lives, our district is committed to fostering a culture of empathy, unity, and service in our schools. … Through dedicated education efforts, remembrance announcements in our buildings, acts of kindness throughout the year, and support for our first responders and military, we endeavor to instill in our students the value of compassion, resilience and most importantly, community. We remember, we honor, and we pledge to uphold the enduring spirit of unity that emerged from that darkest day in September, 22 years ago.”

The meeting was videorecorded and will be available to view for one month here. (The recording was not yet available at press time.)

Upcoming dates:

There will be a work session on Sept. 25 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room at the Washington Street Education Center (WSEC).  

The next regular board meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 9 in the board room at WSEC.

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