Michigan parents call for Rochester superintendent to resign amid allegations of spying on social media

One parents alleges that school district leaders helped get her fired

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Some Detroit-area parents are calling on the superintendent of Rochester Community Schools (RCS) in Michigan to resign amid allegations of spying on parents through social media, according to local reports and a federal lawsuit.

One Rochester parent, Elena Dinverno, filed a civil rights lawsuit against Superintendent Robert Shaner, Ph.D., last year that accuses him of challenging her right to free speech after she began advocating for in-person learning in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic on two Facebook groups: "RCS Parents for In-Person Education" and "Conservative Parents for Rochester," the complaint states.

The school district apparently reached a settlement on Monday, when the Rochester Board of Education (BOE) held a meeting in which some parents called on Shaner to resign, according to The Associated Press.

Rochester High School in MIchigan. (Google Maps)

Rochester High School in MIchigan. (Google Maps)

Dinverno alleges that she lost her job after RCS Deputy Superintendent Debi Fragomeni called Dinverno's employer, Marty Blake, and claimed "that Ms. Dinverno was part of a group that was making threats against the school district," which Dinverno's attorneys say was a false accusation in an amended version of the complaint.

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The mother wrote a letter to her employer and made a comment to the BOE later that year explaining that she has never made any threats against the school district.

"By reporting parents you are risking their livelihood. Their employment. That is all they have right now. I know you all understand that kids are sad, hurting, giving up, and as parents we will go whatever is necessary for our children. Parents are hurting too," her December 2020 comment to BOE members reads.

In his deposition on Feb. 2, Shaner reportedly told Dinverno's attorney, Deborah Gordon, that the school district values "the input of all parents" and wants to keep its "thumb on the pulse of the community," so school district leaders "monitor social media very closely on all fronts," as The Detroit News first reported.

"Believe it or not, there are parents that support what we are doing, and they often share what's going on in social media with us as well..." he added later, according to the outlet.

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Dinverno's lawsuit also alleges that school district officials "were assigned to regularly capture screenshots of district parents’ social media posts and comments which criticized the school district and to compile dossiers of the screenshots, which were circulated to members of RCS administration and BOE members."

Those dossiers included "annotations containing personal information about district parents such as their place of employment, the names of their children and which schools their children attended."

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Rochester students returned to in-person learning in March 2021, according to The Detroit News.

The school district did not immediately respond to an inquiry from Fox News Digital.