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Nicole Kessler

Nicole Kessler is motivated to help those with struggles in life.

Kessler spent a decade working in the auto industry as a dealership finance manager while completing her degree in liberal arts and finance from DePaul University. She earned a scholarship to Wayne State University Law School and during her first semester she not only got married but learned she was pregnant a week before exams started. Her son was born the following summer, yet she continued part-time until she earned her law degree.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, she worked as a Wayne County prosecutor. During the pandemic, Kessler connected with like-minded parents in Birmingham Public Schools and “organically formed” the Michigan Parents Alliance for Safe Schools (MiPASS) – a grassroots organization with the mission to protect and advocate for the education and well-being of all Michigan students.

“As an attorney, I went to law school to work in a career where I could make a difference. I really care for other people, especially those in groups that are most silent and need the most protection. This is my core motivation.”

MiPASS connects with parents in counties across Michigan who share the same concerns. The group hosts webinars and posts helpful resources on their website and Facebook page.

“We realized we were more effective working together. Initially we were focused on COVID precautions, but our mission has grown to advance the health and safety of Michigan schools and students to include internet safety, equality, gun reform legislation, no-cost meal programs and learning loss tutoring programs.”

Kessler said the MiPASS coalition was involved in the Michigan Red Flag Law, also known as the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, which passed earlier this year and is expected to go into effect next spring.

Kessler noted there are also other factors that involve student safety. “Equality and mental health should be considered part of school safety. For people to feel safe, they need to feel accepted. The rhetoric around book bans, curriculum, race, and gender or sexual identity needs to be addressed...All kids deserve to go to school and be protected, respected, and not discriminated against.”

She encourages parents to be involved in their children’s schools and to attend their local school board meetings, “Dig deeper. Watch and see what happens. No one is hiding stuff from parents. Teachers are not indoctrinating our students. Be involved. Pay attention to what your child is doing and reading in school. If you don’t want your child to read a particular book, contact the school library or your child’s teacher. All schools have a book approval process and while I recognize that some books may slip through the cracks, knee jerk reactions by parents and community members are not helpful. If something doesn’t sound right, stand up and speak out.”

Kessler also warns of outsiders who are a part of fringe groups that target and attend multiple school board meetings in various communities to “stir the pot about book bans and other false narratives.”

She advised, “It’s important to dig deeper when it comes to information on social media. Even if it is from a source you trust, still dig deeper. There are many groups such as Moms for Liberty (which has been designated an ‘extremist’ group by the Southern Poverty Law Center) that are affiliated with hate groups and conspiracy theories. Look closer and try to understand the core values of these types of groups and what they stand for and how they disseminate a lot of hate material. Don’t spread misinformation – and always think critically.”

Story: Tracy Donohue

Photo: Laurie Tennent


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