Baker School Board lifts censure of 21-year-old member

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BAKER CITY (AP) — A day of mediation resolved an eight-month standoff between a 21-year-old Eastern Oregon school board member and the district that limited his access to information and staff.

The censure from the Baker School Board ended with a mediated resolution for Kyle Knight. Knight has also dropped a lawsuit of the district in federal court.

He was awarded $5,000 in attorney’s fees. He had sought up to $500,000 in compensatory damages and $200,000 in punitive damages in the suit.

“At the end I didn’t want to go through years and years of court over money,” Knight said. “I wanted to close the door and I wanted to seal it so we wouldn’t have any more dishonest information coming out.”

The resolution last week came after nearly a year of acrimony between Knight and three members of the board, who took issue with Knight when he spoke to the media in April about an employee suspected of stealing from the district.

The employee later confessed to theft and was sentenced in July to a year in prison.

Knight then spoke out about a police investigation into possible gang activity involving school-age children, and the board again accused Knight of violating an oath of confidentiality, The Baker City Herald reported.

“The entire Board apologizes to the community for the distractions recent events have caused, and all members look forward to continuing to serve the district and focusing their energies on the education needs of our children,” Superintendent Walt Wegener said in a statement,

Knight acknowledged that he could have resolved the issue by agreeing not to release such information in the future, but refused.

“I’ve lived my life in a way that if I didn’t do anything wrong I’m going to fight it to the last bone in my body,” Knight said.

Two board members who voted to censure Knight were also were the subjects of a failed recall that was organized by community members in November.

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