Online petition calls for ouster of controversial District 228 board member
A petition to remove District 228 Board of Education member Larry Canning has been virtually circulating throughout the Bremen area.
The petition, hosted on Change.org, was created by 2015 Tinley Park High School alumnus Jack Cascone, who publicly called for the board to reprimand and remove Canning after an incident at a recent meeting.
“It’s important, because the District 228 School Board is directly affecting thousands of young adults that will become voters,” Canning told the South Cook News. “When you have an elected official that acts in the way that Canning did, there’s a problem. To make amends with the district, he should, respectfully, resign.”
At an April school board meeting, Canning engaged with some audience members in a violent manner, according to the Daily Southtown. He reportedly lost his composure after fellow board member and former political ally Mark Johnson read a statement accusing him of illegal campaign practices and political intimidation.
One man, 55-year-old Michael Szydelko, allegedly pushed Canning, was arrested and faces a felony charge.
Cascone accused Canning of acting in a fashion unbecoming of a public servant throughout the incident.
“I get that people make mistakes, and they should be forgiven, but how many chances are we giving Canning?" he said. "As an elected official, he is held to a higher standard and, in my eyes, he’s used up all of his ‘get out of jail free’ cards.”
As of Monday, 69 people have signed the petition -- Cascone is hoping for 100 -- and has found an audience on social media channels like Facebook.
The petition reads: “A man that has allegedly broken campaign finance laws, bullied and pressured other Board members by using District 228 employees, and uses one position to influence the outcome of an elected official should not be a voting member that directly affects our school district.”
One signer of the petition, Abigail Simon – another alumna of D228 – told the South Cook News that she didn’t have to think twice when Cascone asked her to sign the petition.
“[This] made me think how ironic it was that a member of a school board can act in such a ‘bullying’ manner,” Simon said. “If students see this happening, they are not going to see a proper example set for them.”
Cascone and Simon stressed that they do not personally support either side in the incident and nor do they have ties to any of board members.
Canning has also been accused of storing a campaign parade float in a garage owned by the Bremen Township government. Other allegations against him include defaming fellow board members and violating campaign finance regulations.