OLATHE, Kan. — Olathe Public Schools’ Board of Education is punishing a board member for acting out in meetings. Several members say Brian Connell has been disruptive and broken decorum during meetings.
The board voted to remove Connell from his committees by a vote of 5-2. Connell and board member Robert Kuhn voted against the action. The Tuesday afternoon special board meeting was standing room only.
On May 4, Connell was arguing with fellow board members about a policy dealing with board ethics.
“This is not acceptable. This is a public meeting in which we are supposed to do the business of the board, and you all are just usurping the responsibility, and I’m calling for a break,” Connell said that day.
“But you can’t,” Board President Shannon Wickliffe replied.
“Well, I’m walking out,” Connell replied before doing just that.
On Tuesday, board member Julie Steele spoke out against Connell before their vote.
“He yells out and calls members names,” she said from her seat. “As you’ve already heard, his favorite is to refer to female members as ‘missy’ and ‘little missy.'”
Steele was referencing a July 2022 board meeting where Connell got into an argument with former board member LeEtta Felter about live streaming board meetings.
“You should have said something before, Brian,” Felter said
“I said something, missy,” Connell replied.
“I’m going to ask you to take it down,” Wickliffe responded to Connell. “I’m going to ask you to take it down.”
On Tuesday, Wickliffe, Joe Beveridge, Brad Boyd, Steele and Dr. Stacey Yurkovich voted in favor of removing Connell from his committees. In a quick interview with Wickliffe after Tuesday’s meeting, he told FOX4 that Connell’s being censured, meaning they disapprove of his actions.
“We said it all in public,” Wickliffe said when asked why he was censured. “I appreciate you trying to get a quote, but it was all there.”
Connell spoke to FOX4 after Tuesday’s meeting as well, with a group of supporters right behind him.
“At no time can they show me anything that said I ever called anyone ‘missy,’ or anything like that,” he said. “I just said that I wasn’t on their team. I’m on everybody’s team.”
Connell won his seat in 2021 after months of voicing displeasure with the way the board and the administration handled the pandemic. He’s promoted himself as a representative of looking out for the students first.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Steele said she wanted Connell to resign, but Connell said he has no plans of doing that. He’s scheduled to serve on the school board through the end of 2025.