Holden turns other cheek to social media attacks

Board of Education Chairman Mark Holden

Board of Education Chairman Mark Holden

People were upset following the Board of Ed’s decision to deny the Conklin family their request to receive an honorary diploma for their late son at Shelton High School’s annual graduation ceremony.

So upset, they went to social media to “bash” Board of Ed Chairman Mark Holden following the May 25 meeting.

One person went as far as sharing Holden’s personal address and insurance business’ information on Facebook, suggesting people show up, cause a “ruckus” and boycott.

Holden said he has had to have to the police at his home at 2 a.m. for fear of his safety since the Board’s decision.

“If they want to call me a jerk, I’m an elected official so that’s within bounds,” said Holden. “But it’s risen to a new level.”

He said he has been unable to determine whether or not the Facebook users are Shelton residents and has had to take precautions since the online attack began.

“I’ve told my wife not to answer the door unless she knows who it is,” said Holden. “It is something that I’m going to be worried about security type issues for a little while. I’m still going to live my life because that’s what you need to do.”

Holden said he thinks the damage done to his business could result in a lawsuit filed for defamation of character.

“I’ve talked to our (the BoE’s) attorney and we’re discussing what will be done,” said Holden.

Facebook said the posts didn’t violate their standards.

No other board members have received any backlash, according to Holden.

He said he has been advised to refrain from responding to residents at this point in time, but ultimately wants to move past the issue now that Superintendent Dr. Chris Clouet changed his initial decision of denying the Conklin family the honorary diploma at graduation.

The Conklin family will now receive the honorary diploma for their son at graduation after the other students cross the stage. Eddy Conklin’s name will be called during the list of graduates and a rose will be placed in his chair.

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