Education

Inglewood schools trustee apologizes for 'insensitive' remarks about the city

Don Brann is the state-appointed trustee running the Inglewood Unified School District.
Don Brann is the state-appointed trustee running the Inglewood Unified School District.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

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Following his remarks that he needs a security detail because he fears for his safety, the state-appointed trustee running the Inglewood Unified School District has apologized, calling his remarks "insensitive."

Last month, trustee Don Brann told KPCC that he needed a $135,000 extension of his California Highway Patrol security detail through April 2015 because "I don't want to get hurt here," adding that "I don't know enough about present day Inglewood to know how good the chances are for that."

Brann subsequently wrote a letter on October 9 to Inglewood Mayor James Butts, the city council, and the community:

"My recent comments were insensitive to the Inglewood community which I’m privileged to serve, and I offer my deepest apologies to Mayor Butts, Councilmembers and to the entire Inglewood community. I am extremely grateful for the warm welcome the entire Inglewood community has given me, and I hope they will forgive my unfortunate choice of words."

Brann went on to say that the group of CHP officers who take turns acting as his driver and security guard "were put in place on the advice of the California Highway Patrol, adding that they "are provided based on specific circumstances, and are the result of the tensions that sometimes occur when the state is required by the Legislature to take control of a school district. They are not a reflection of the community itself."

Brann is the only one of four state school trustees with a security detail, according to the CHP. The only other state education official with such protection is State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. The superintendent is one of seven statewide constitutional officers who receive such protection, as stipulated by state law. Torlakson's office has a $675,000 contract for his security detail covering the period from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2017, according to CHP spokeswoman Fran Clader. 

A spokeswoman for Torlakson said he has no comment on Brann's remarks.

Brann told KPCC in last month's interview that the CHP security detail was implemented in Inglewood three months before he started on the job in July 2013, although he said that he has not received any threats since he took over. He said the CHP detail costs between $8,000 and $13,000 a month.

An official with the union that represents Inglewood Unified's non-teaching employees had criticized Brann's request to extend the CHP contract through April 2015 as "a waste of taxpayers' money." Earlier this year, Brann sent layoff notices to more than 100 district staffers to close a projected $4.5 million deficit this school year.

An aide to Inglewood Mayor James Butts said he was unavailable for comment. Brann is on vacation in the Mediterranean.

This story was updated on October 14, 2014.