Plano City Council holds its first regular meeting June 28, after seating new members following the June runoff elections.
Plano City Council will convene in closed session noon Sunday and possibly take public action regarding Council Member Tom Harrison.
Harrison has come under public scrutiny this week after sharing a video on his personal Facebook page depicting students wearing hijabs while working at their classroom desks with the caption, “share if you think Trump should ban Islam in American schools.”
City spokesperson Steve Stoler said the City Council does not have the authority to dismiss a council member or require a council member to resign. However, the council is permitted to censure a council member if there is an ethics complaint. There have yet to be any ethics complaints filed.
Mayor Harry LaRosiliere held a press conference Wednesday denouncing the video and calling for the immediate resignation of Harrison.
“Mr. Harrison’s conduct is unbefitting of a council member that serves a diverse community and that serves the city of excellence,” LaRosiliere said.
Harrison has since removed the video from his Facebook page and has posted an apology.
“My intent on inputting this on my personal Facebook page was to emphasize that Christianity is not the only religion being targeted for exclusion in our public school,” Harrison wrote in reference to the video he shared the previous day. “It was not meant as a personal attack against the Islamic faith.”
Fellow council members have since posted statements on their own Facebook pages.
“This inexcusable and unacceptable posting by a council member has no place in our city and does not represent the values we hold dear in the City of Plano,” Grady wrote. “My personal apology to our Islamic community, and to the entire Plano citizenry, for an appalling posting and video shared by a council member. I stand with our Mayor in calling for an immediate submission of resignation from this council member.”
The video has incited backlash from parts of the Plano community and members of the Islamic faith. Protestors organized at the annual State of the City address Thursday evening to demonstrate.
“The statement that we heard from Mr. Harrison was extremely polarizing—very divisive,” said Azhar Azeez, the president of the Islamic Society of North America. “It’s very unfortunate and we reiterate what the mayor has said—that [Harrison] has to resign. I know he has apologized. Apology is welcome, but he should walk the talk.”
Want more from CI? Becoming a CI Patron grants you access to an exclusive weekend newsletter and CI Swag. Your one-time or monthly donation catapults our mission to hire high-quality journalists and provide trusted news in Texas communities.