Bloomfield Hills School Board president ousted after mask list controversy

Police investigate alleged anti-mask list circulating social media

A school board president was ousted in Oakland County over a mask controversy. It happened after the president reported a list circulating in Bloomfield Hills.
A school board president was ousted in Oakland County over a mask controversy. It happened after the president reported a list circulating in Bloomfield Hills.

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. – A school board president was ousted in Oakland County over a mask controversy. It happened after the president reported a list circulating in Bloomfield Hills.

More: Local 4 Defenders

The list labeled nearly 100 families as being anti-mask. The controversy came to a head Thursday night at a school board meeting.

“It’s amazing that in the era where we tell our students if they see something, say something -- we have done the opposite,” Paul Kolin said.

Kolin said it was his duty to report a list -- called “The Anti Mask List” -- that named 97 district families. The list was made by a parents who was identifying families they believed to be against mask use. The families on the list called it a “burn list” and “bullying.”

Read: List of families against mask use in Bloomfield Hills schools causes fear, outrage

“The goal is to stop this and stop sending it out on social media things that can be considered a hate crime,” Kolin said. “I stand by what I did.”

Kolin was voted out as board president Thursday night after the Board said he violated policy by not telling them he went to the police with the list. Police then began contacting parents who shared the list.

“We had to hear about it from frantic board, community members who were being investigated by police,” said Bloomfield Hill School Board member Siva Kumar.

The police report shows both Kolin and district superintendent Patrick Watson went to police and turned over screen grabs and other evidence. Police decided there was no wrong doing by the person who made the list.

Ioana Ben Ezra, a district parent on the list, said she is not anti-mask and she’s upset Kolin was ousted as president.

“I always thought the main concept was ‘See something, say something,’” Ezra said. “How can you be punished for doing the right thing? My jaw dropped when I found out about it on the news.”

Hundreds of parents and students showed up at Friday’s Bloomfield Hills High School football game with shirts and signs in support of Kolin.

Related: Tracking Michigan school districts, colleges requiring masks for 2021-2022 school year


COVID-19 Discussion Forum:

Join our dedicated space to discuss the pandemic. You’re invited to share questions, experiences, insights and opinions.

Join the conversation here.


About the Authors:

Shawn Ley is an Emmy-Award winning reporter. In more than 20 years covering stories in television news, Shawn’s reporting has taken him from war-torn eastern Europe, to reporting from an F-16 fighter jet and now to the fast and furious breaking news of Detroit.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.