Lowellville parents file lawsuit against district, alleging violation of Open Meetings Act

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The Crilleys' lawsuit comes after the district's attorney threatened a civil suit, alleging they made "false and defamatory" comments

WKBN

LOWELLVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) – The dispute between a Lowellville family and the school district continues as the parents filed a lawsuit and a request for a preliminary injunction, seeking to delay the start of online learning.

Chris and Gina Crilley said the school board had been very transparent — until recently, when they say the board decided to go solely remote without input from parents.

Last Monday, the Lowellville School Board decided to switch to remote-only learning to start out the school year. The decision eliminated parents’ option for in-person learning for the first nine weeks.

In their lawsuit, the Crilleys allege that the district provided no formal announcement of a special meeting in which the decision was made. They say they learned about the meeting only after reading comments online after the meeting was held.

The Crilleys also allege that the district hasn’t yet responded to their public records request seeking the board’s policy for notifying the public of upcoming meetings.

The Crilleys are asking a judge for an injunction and a new meeting so that the community can weigh in on the district’s plan, alleging that the district violated Ohio’s Open Meetings Act. The Crilleys are also asking that the district pay $500 and court costs.

The lawsuit comes after the district’s attorney threatened to sue the Crilleys, alleging that they made “false and defamatory statements.” In a letter to Crilley he said the statement that the district violated the Open Meetings Act was false and that failure to cease their “defamatory” statements would lead to a civil suit against them.

WKBN reached out to the district’s attorney Thursday for a comment on the Crilley’s lawsuit but hasn’t yet heard back.

The case has been assigned to Judge R. Scott Krichbaum.

Read a copy of the lawsuit and request for injunction below:

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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