COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — The Mayor of Palmer Lake is speaking out after receiving a letter from a local school board accusing her of disrupting its board meeting. The only problem is she was never at the meeting.
The letter, dated December 7, is addressed to Mayor Glant Havener and was sent via certified mail to her official office at Palmer Lake Town Hall.
It arrived just a few weeks after she won her election. So, Havener had a very different expectation when opening the envelope.
"So, when I first got the letter, I was a little bit excited," Havener recalled.
"I thought, oh this is kind of fun, it must be a congratulatory letter from District 49."
Instead of congratulations, the letter contained condemnation.
It states that security staff received witness testimony and reviewed both video and photographic evidence from the November 10th board meeting and, "determined that your conduct created an unacceptable disruption to the lawful mission and function of the school district."
The letter banned Havener from visiting all District 49 schools, facilities, and grounds. If it were to become necessary for her to visit, she was instructed to call the Safety and Security Department to make arrangements to meet with appropriate personnel at an off-site location.
This prohibition would remain in place until she provided district security with, "a notarized statement attesting to your understanding of these expectations and your commitment to future compliance."
The November 10th school board meeting was particularly heated. Board member Ivy Liu had previously posted a quote from Adolf Hitler on social media that many interpreted as an attack against teachers. Multiple people signed up to speak during the public comments portion of the meeting and called on Liu to resign.
Havener recognized the name of school board president John Graham on the letter having previously worked with him at a real estate company.
So, she called him.
"He assured me that he had the right person in the video, and that it was in fact me, and that I was at his school board meeting, and that I raised a cane at someone and that I screamed and yelled and I had to be banned from his meetings."
But on that night, Havener was 25 miles away at the Palmer Lake Board of Trustees meeting.
She sent Graham and the head of district security the video of her board meeting, proving her innocence. A second letter was sent a week later rescinding and retracting the previous letter of non-trespass.
Graham declined a request for an on-camera interview but explained over the phone the letter was sent to Havener in error and that he personally apologized to the mayor.
The ordeal shook Havener so much that she avoided her son's wrestling tournament this weekend at Vista Ridge High School.
"I don't feel comfortable going into a D49 school," she said. "How would you feel comfortable?"
She also wanted to share this experience publicly because she worries others might also have been falsely accused.
"What about the mom that doesn't have recourse, what about the mom that doesn't know what to do, that doesn't know how to get help and doesn't know who to call? That's the mom that I'm speaking up for."
A district spokesman said three such letters were sent. However, he did not say how the recipients were identified.
Graham explained that he thought someone at the school board meeting was Havener but that, "people misidentified her."
Havener also shared a text message she received from Graham where he admitted to misidentifying her as a different former coworker from the real estate office.
"For whatever reason in my mind your name attached to that person's face," the message reads.
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