Richland School Board Director Misipati Semi Bird’s recent comment on Facebook describing his court-martial as a young Marine in 1984 differs widely from the comment he provided to the Observer while running last fall for election to the Richland School Board.
In a telephone interview on Sept. 4, Bird told the Observer that an Aug. 23, 1984, article in the Hawaii Marine describing Semi M. Bird’s special court-martial, concerned not the candidate, but his first cousin with the same name.
Bird explained that Misipati was a common name in Samoa, and that he and his cousin were both in the Marines at the same time. A Google search by the Observer at the time indicated that a second Misipati Bird does live in Hawaii.
Bird’s May 7 Facebook post on the Gabe Galbraith for School Board page, however, reveals that he, not a cousin, was the subject of the military legal proceeding in 1984.
Of the incident that led to the court-martial, Bird wrote , “This was a racially charged event where a Sergeant (NCO) used a racial slur and assaulted me. I defended myself. It was NOT my commanding officer.”
“I did my punishment, went back to my unit, was later promoted, and finished my tour of duty with an HONORABLE DISCHARGE,” Bird wrote.
Years later Bird joined the Army Special Forces and received a Bronze Star for valor and other service medals, according to his service documents. He also received an honorable discharge from the Army National Guard.
Court-martial comes up at school board meeting
Last September, when Bird denied to the Observer that he had been court-martialed, he was running on his military record in a contested race for the school board – a race he eventually won by a slim margin, with 52.89 percent of the vote.
In contrast, Bird posted his Facebook explanation earlier this month at a time when it was clear that questions about the 1984 court-martial article would not go away.
On April 12, Brian Brendel asked about the court-martial at a school board meeting. Brendel, President of Columbia Energy and Environmental Service, is one of the four Richland businessmen who filed recall petitions in the Benton-Franklin Superior Court for Bird, and school board directors Audra Byrd and Kari Williams.
Brendel suggested that Bird may have “derided” Richland School Board President Jill Olson for months because she had asked for his military service records.
“If he is the same M. Semi Bird, court-martialed for unlawfully striking an NCO in August of 1984, resulting in a one-month confinement, hard labor and a demotion in rank to private; then his actions against Olson represent retaliatory, prejudiced and unethical actions,” Brendel said.
In contrast to the comment Bird provided the Observer in September during the campaign, the school board candidate said nothing when confronted by Brendel publicly.
Bird posted his May 7 comment on Facebook in response to other people discussing the 1984 article and his recall.
That same day and again on May 11, the Observer reached out to Bird to ask about the contradiction between his Facebook post and what he said in the September interview. He did not respond.
On May 11, Judge Norma Rodriguez ruled that the petitions could go forward to signature gathering. The three school board directors are appealing to the state Supreme Court.
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It is concerning that our school board members are not truthful and can consider themselves above our guidelines and regulations. These school children there parents and grandparents deserve better! If we ran long term care the way they run schools there would be many more deaths. As an older nurse I went 2 years Covid testing and working around Covid before the school board decided to make there own rules. Then my Granddaughter brought it home to us. Not only was she very Ill so was I! Why don’t they consult our local health departments and make informed decisions NOT politically based. Her Mother missed more work. I missed 10 days and the district has caused more stress over her time loss!!!! It’s all unbelievable!
🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸There’s NO WAY I’m signing a petition brought by 4 businessmen and PNNL/Hanford managers to recall ANY board members, especially Semi, Audra and Keri. Those 4 men should rethink what they are doing. It is a WASTE of time and taxpayer’s money! These funds come out of the Richland School District. It will cost the school district between 150k to 250k!!
My 5 year old nonverbal (he only has a few words) autistic grandson has been in a mask for most of the last two years at daycare and school. Do you understand how many hours that is a day? 7 am to 5 pm! Do you understand the adverse affect this unscientific mask mandate had on him and other children? Try learning to talk at 3 when you are already a nonverbal autistic child and you are forced to wear a mask all day. I have another 8 year old grandson that has fallen behind in reading and his personality has changed ever since the mask mandate and social distancing was required by Inslee. Do you understand the negative impact social distancing and mask wearing for 10 hours a day has on kids? Look at the skyrocketing suicide rate, (6 kids in RSD have committed suicide), look at the skyrocketing drug overdose rate in our youth the last two years. All for what? Kids aren’t at risk of dying of COVID, but they are at risk of dying of suicide and fentanyl! COVID survival rate for children is 99.98. And if you are worried about getting it from your child, from your student, then get vaxed and boosted and wear your KN95 mask! STOP asking our children to bare the brunt and burden of COVID! It’s so selfish of us adults and of our government. I saw grown men and women cry at the school board meetings because of the negative change they saw in their kids due to the mask wearing, social distancing. Parents need their rights back. ⏰⏰WAKE UP WASHINGTON STATE! WAKE UP RICHLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT. SAY NO TO THE RECALL! NOTE from the Observer: This comment has been edited to reduce the length.
I’ll gladly sign this petition. I think these board members were unethical in their behaviour and ignored legal mandates put in place to protect both the children and teachers of the District. Their behavior, as well as their politicizing of a public health crisis, are not in line with what I can accept of public officials.
🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸Watch this video of a Battleground, WA school board who is intelligent, wise, honest, kindhearted and gutsy! She tells the truth about Washington State’s public education system. Most parents have no idea what’s going on in schools. It really is unbelievable, but sadly it is true. The state doesn’t want or believe parents should have a voice or rights in your kids’s education.⏰⏰⏰WAKE UP PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS. WAKE UP WASHINGTON STATE! GET INFORMED! VOTE WISELY! YOU ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME. https://www.facebook.com/groups/washingtonprie/permalink/1043496293234923/ PLEASE SHARE THIS VIDEO.
🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸Wa State is undermining parental rights and this is exactly why we need Semi, Keri and Audra on the RSD BOARD. They will push back, they will listen to parents and they will raise their voices to the state. I have not observed the other two board members or RSD superintendent willing to take even a small stand against the WA Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdal or Inslee. 44 other WA superintendents across the state SPOKE OUT AGAINST MASKS MANDATE AND WROTE LETTERS TO THE STATE, but not RSD. I asked them to make that one stand, but they didn’t. We need strength not weakness. The state is powerful, but parents can be, too. These are our kids, not the state’s and we are paying the wages and the bill for public education. We need to push back.⏰⏰⏰GET INFORMED! Know what’s going on. VOTE WISELY!