Long-time ROWVA school board member resigns, cites personal reasons

Samuel Lisec
Galesburg Register-Mail

ONEIDA — Rob Kalb, a member of ROWVA’s Board of Education for over 15 years, announced he has resigned from his position in a letter addressed to the board’s president Jim Haynes. 

The letter, published Feb. 8 on ROWVA school district’s social media, cites that Kalb is stepping down “due to personal and family reasons.” Kalb graduated from ROWVA High School in 1988 and was first elected to the board in 2006.

The resignation follows board and community discussions over whether Angie Thomas’s book “The Hate U Give” should remain in ROWVA English classes. At a meeting in January, Kalb was one of two board members who voted in dissent of keeping the book out of ROWVA's classrooms.

“I especially hope that the divides that have been caused lately can be bridged and movement forward in a progressive manner that accounts for all students’ needs can be found,” Kalb wrote in his resignation letter. 

More:ROWVA keeps book 'The Hate U Give' out of classroom, but in school library

“The Hate U Give,” a novel inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement according to the writer’s website, is about a 16 year old who witnesses her friend shot and killed by police. 

Parents, students, educators and ROWVA alumni have voiced support and outrage over the book’s place in the classroom. Some argued the book brought important discussions of race and racial inequality, while others were concerned about the book’s expletives and that parents were not notified of its inclusion in the freshman curriculum. 

“If we start as a board pushing from the top down, telling our teachers what we're going to have put in their hands and student's hands, we're going to have a difficult time finding teachers that want to do that,” Kalb said before the board's vote on Jan. 18.

Kalb did not respond to The Register-Mail’s requests for comment.

Challenged book:Roundtable: Did ROWVA make right call on challenged book?