Dori: Parent upset with appointment of felon as Olympia School Board Member

Nov 2, 2022, 6:29 PM | Updated: 8:10 pm
Olympia School Board Member Talauna Reed

An Olympia School Board move to appoint an outspoken anti-police activist and convicted criminal to fill a vacancy on the board caught many South Puget Sound-area parents by surprise, one mother told The Dori Monson Show Wednesday.

But now, parent Alesha Perkins told Dori’s listeners, the grassroots startup OSD Rescue is pushing back against the unanimous appointment of Talauna Martin Reed, the board’s first Black director.

Adding Reed to the five-member board of directors is proof that “academics have been abandoned in favor of ideology” in Olympia schools, Perkins said.

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Perkins said she and other community members knew of Reed, 47, from her failed 2021 voter campaign to the Olympia City Council. During that race, Reed gained attention at a rally telling the crowd “f*** the police” in a string of profanities she used while criticizing local officers providing security and crowd control.

“It amazes me how those pigs can sit over there to watch us peacefully talk about what we want [to] change in this state,” Reed told last summer’s crowd. “It amazes me. And they don’t pay attention until we tear s*** up. So, before I get started, tear everything up in this f****** city until they do what we want them to do.”

“She didn’t win that (city council) election, so I didn’t pay a lot of attention after that,” Perkins said of Reed. “When I heard that she was being appointed to this school board vacancy, I thought it was a mistake. It couldn’t be the same person.”

When OSD Rescue did more research, they found several of Reed’s criminal convictions – including a series of second- and third-degree theft charges stemming from a Thurston County embezzlement case in 2003; a 2010 second-degree theft conviction in Pierce County; a 2017 check forgery case at an Olympia-area Hobby Lobby; and a shoplifting arrest at a Target store that same year.

Perkins attended Oct. 27’s board meeting where – despite some objections — Reed was officially sworn in.

“I was so disappointed,” Perkins said. She told Dori’s listeners that board president Maria Flores called parental objections “hate” and the board “proceeded to give us a lecture on white supremacy.”

Prior to Reed’s appointment, Perkins continued, it’s not clear whether the board’s four elected members knew of Reed’s criminal history and Antifa connections or whether they just ignored them.

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Some opponents to Reed’s appointment noted that she is connected with activist Miguel Louis Lofland, who runs his own Antifa News Network newspaper and has provided videography for Reed and her anti-police rallies.

With no apparent recourse to overturn Reed’s appointment, Perkins said the parents’ group will now work to “flip the three seats that are up” next year. Reed’s appointment expires in December 2023; she will need to run for her seat next year if she wants to continue on the board.

While the board’s move to appoint its first person of color “all started with good intentions,” Perkins said, now “we need to get back to academics. Please, can we start getting back to academics again?”

Listen to Dori Monson weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Dori: Parent upset with appointment of felon as Olympia School Board Member