Education — March 17, 2015 at 8:34 am

911 tape shows “threatening” Brighton parent arrested for trespassing at tea party school open house was “very calm, very quiet”


WHMI is reporting that the Livingston County Prosecutor’s office will move forward with misdemeanor trespassing charges against Brighton parent Glenn Ikens who had the audacity to remain seated when asked to leave the “open house” of a proposed tea party charter school in Brighton. According to a spokesman for the the Livingston County Classical Academy (formerly the Lindbom Classical Academy) which is part of the American Classical Academy (formerly the American Christian Academy), the owner of the building, Pasquale Battaglia, “feared for his safety” from Ikens.

Mr. Ikens has attacked Mr. Battaglia personally many times in public meetings and in writing. His demeanor while making some of those attacks at Brighton Area Schools board meetings (especially on Aug. 25, 2014 and on Jan. 26, 2015) justify Mr. Battaglia’s fear of Mr. Ikens’ instability.

What they’re talking about here are passionate speeches given by Ikens at Brighton Area Schools board meetings. Exercising his right to freedom of expression in a public forum has Ikens now labeled as dangerous and a threat by so-called “patriot” Pasquale Battaglia.

What’s interesting is that WHMI obtained the audio from the 911 call placed to have Ikens removed from the meeting. The caller describes Ikens as “very calm, very quiet”. It’s at the 4:10 mark in this audio (if the audio player doesn’t display, click HERE):

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Battaglia obviously didn’t fear for his personal safety. He simply wanted to squelch any dissent at his “open house”. His faux patriotism and adoration of free speech extends right up to the point where he gets pushback. Had Ikens caused an actual disturbance, their actions might be understandable. But, by their own words, we know that Ikens was “very calm” and “very quiet”. Nothing he had done prior to that moment would lead anyone to believe that he would have disturbed their meeting.

The Livingston County Press & Argus editorial boad has jumped into fray, saying that Ikens “stepped over the line” with his act of civil disobedience. From my perspective, it takes acts like this to draw attention to issues that might otherwise go unnoticed and I commend Ikens for his passion and willingness to speak out, even when his opponents want him shut down. The LCA has gotten way more attention because of his activism than it would have otherwise and, except for the petulant rants of their “leadership” and the tepid defense by the Press & Argus, they look less like a group that should be educating children and more like a group you’d find carrying misspelled signs at a tea party rally.

One more thing: in their communications with the media lately, including here on this blog, it is clear that the LCA leadership has as part of its goals a strong desire to smear teachers unions, demonizing Ikens, who is a well-regarded public school teacher, as a “unionist” who uses “union thug tactics”. That tells you as much about their motivations as anything else they have done.