NHUHSD board votes to ask Dan Johnson to resign

With the festering scandal over a plagiarized speech crippling its ability to conduct business, and with the public demanding that action be taken, the local high school board voted tonight, Sept. 10, to ask Trustee Dan Johnson to resign.

More than 140 people packed into the McKinleyville High School Multi-Purpose Room to hear the Northern Humboldt Union High School District Board of Trustees address the issue, which has plagued the district since Trustee Johnson gave a plagiarized speech at the  Arcata High School graduation ceremony on June 13.

The board listened to comments from the public, some of whom demanded that Johnson resign. There were also numerous Johnson supporters, including friends and family, who thanked the board member for his contributions to the community and said they accepted his apology.

Later in the meeting, Johnson spoke about the scandal publicly for the first time. He was a no-show at the last two meetings, which he said was a result of “intense personal issues.”

Johnson apologized for his speech, but said that it is time to move on. He said he wished that the passion people have invested in the controversy could be redirected to helping local children and students. He  said he was disheartened by some of the mean and hurtful comments that have been made. He said the issue could have been handled better, not just by him but by staff.

“It’s time to move on,” Johnson declared.

His fellow trustees, clearly frustrated, questioned whether that was possible.
“I do not want this to go on any longer,” said Trustee Dana Silvernale, who had requested that the item be placed on the agenda.

“We need a resolution this evening of some kind,” Silvernale said.

Board President Mike Pigg agreed, saying “I’d like to end it tonight.”

An emotional Pigg said he was at a crossroads. He went to high school with Johnson, who he considers a friend. Pigg said he didn’t think the damage from the controversy is repairable, and said he would support asking for Johnson’s resignation.

“I don’t think we can heal from this,” Pigg said.

After more discussion, Silvernale made a motion to ask for Johnson’s resignation. Trustee Colleen Toste seconded the motion, saying she was responding to the public’s desire.

Trustee Dan Collen said he was a “process guy” and didn’t see the point of asking for Johnson’s resignation. The voters, he said, have the option of recalling Johnson.

When it came time for a vote, voting in favor of asking for Johnson’s resignation were Pigg, Silvernale and Toste. Collen dissented and Johnson abstained without comment.

(More details, along with video, will be posted in the coming days. Check back for updates.)







4 thoughts on “NHUHSD board votes to ask Dan Johnson to resign

  1. This isn’t over until Johnson resigns. An apology from the board for its initial response to this matter is in order, too. The entire board should resign for its disgraceful behavior.

  2. Collen and Johnson need to step down from their positions as well. How is it possible to sit at a position of authority in an Educational Institution and turn a blind eye to blatant plagiarism such as this? LEAD BY EXAMPLE OR GTFO!!! Any student in high school, or especially college would have been expelled for such a violation, and to have to wait for a resignation is an insult to the Institution we are using to guide our future leaders!! Shame on Johnson and shame on Collen for not standing up for what is right!!

  3. My initial comment many weeks ago was incorrect and not thought through properly.

    The man stole someone else’s words and claimed them as his own.

    That’s bad enough but Johnson is also in a position of power and authority over the exact young people who are being taught to behave in exactly the opposite way Johnson acted.

    He should be amazed that the other board members supported him all this time or at all.

    He betrayed everyone’s trust.

    The board should also be ashamed in the way they defied the Brown Act. They all must be familiar with the law. Their behavior demonstrates their manipulations to try and sweep the whole fiasco under the rug.

    Where’s the accountability for those folks?
    Who holds them responsible?

Comments are closed.