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Duluth School Board member's photography at meeting upsets students

Some Duluth East High School parents and students are concerned about an incident in which a School Board member took a picture of students at a meeting.

Board member Gary Glass took pictures of the Duluth East Choralaires as they performed before and at the start of the March 16 School Board meeting.

"Your behavior left some of my students feeling a bit uncomfortable," East High School choir director Jerome D. Upton wrote to Glass in a March 23 e-mail. "They want to know what you were doing and why you were doing it, and so do I. I assured them that I would follow up with you on this, which is why I am writing to you today.

"I hope that you understand my concern and that you will take the time to answer this e-mail," Upton wrote. "When it comes to my students, I take safety issues very seriously. I just want to be able to provide them with answers that will ease their concern."

Glass didn't respond to the Upton's e-mail, nor to two more since -- the most recent on April 20.

"I put it in the category as one of these questions that isn't worth answering," Glass said Wednesday.

"I occasionally take pictures of things that catch my fancy," he said. "The reality is that the group was part of the audience that gets filmed (in the videotapes made of meetings, by television stations and audience members). It's part of living in a free society."

The matter is being handled appropriately, because board Chairman Tim Grover received copies of Upton's e-mails, Glass said.

"Mr. Grover hasn't even mentioned the e-mail to me," Glass said.

But Grover said he was leaving the matter to Glass to handle.

"I don't know if there is any kind of an issue that the board itself should be dealing with," Grover said. "I was really hoping that Mr. Glass would respond to Mr. Upton to clear up any misunderstanding and alleviate any concern."

Upton chose not to comment on the matter when he returned a phone call seeking comment.