Recall Terri Cunningham-Swanson: Part 5

Hello again, friends! We cannot believe how many folks have noticed us, particularly senpai – Seeing Red! As always, we recommend you check them out if you haven’t already, because they give a straightforward perspective on what’s happening in this state. All of us believe Nebraska is worth fighting for, and that’s why we do what we do.

Now, let’s continue with our look back at how the effort to Recall Terri Cunningham-Swanson began in Plattsmouth.

At this point, it’s on! The students protested and they, along with parents and community members, geared up to make their thoughts known at the May board meeting, as well as through email to Terri, fellow board members and the superintendent.

The Spring of Terri’s Discontent

After the protest, the district was on the media’s radar. KETV reached out to Terri Cunningham-Swanson for comment and she chose not to respond. The district still had yet to issue a formal notice to parents and guardians. A few folks emailed Terri for the book list and, as with the news, she chose not to respond to them. Instead, Terri emailed the board president and superintendent to ask for that list. A list that she, to use one of her favorite words, “curated” herself.

TCS asks for book list from superintendent
Terri, why don’t you remember which books you asked to be removed from the shelves? You have the emails with them. Was it too many? That’s okay—52 books seems excessive to us, too.


The Winterstiens, of course, emailed prior to the board meeting to tell Terri they were on her side and to suggest she speak with students, though not any “from the radical group.”

4-27-2023 Derek thinks TCS should talk to students
Hey Lisa and Derek, you don’t sound happy with public schools, but there’s this magical thing called “private school” that you can send your kids to if you want them to have a Christian-based education.


Meanwhile, the superintendent decided to side-step the situation by discussing it with the school’s attorney and discussing the semantics of “may” versus “must” or “shall.” That is, he found a way to excuse himself for removing 52 books from the shelves—52 books that no one had ever complained about in all the years of them sitting in the library.

Trying to sweep everything under the rug seemed to be the tactic of choice here.

However, there was no avoiding the standing-room only crowd that attended the May 8, 2023 board meeting to ask why.

      • Why were books being removed?
      • Why was this an all or nothing proposition?
      • Why weren’t teenagers considered capable of reading books that had already been selected for the library by professionals?
      • Why wasn’t anyone listening to the teenagers who had already read the books and were speaking for themselves?
      • Why was the only information provided by the school to the parents none up until May, and then a vague directive for them to find the list on their website?
      • And why was this being done behind parents’ backs?

As one junior so eloquently stated in their email to the board:
5-8-2023 Plattsmouth student email re banning books

We’re not excusing the superintendent in all of this, because who knows what the heck he was thinking. We know his job is hard, and his actions might have made it even harder as parents who attended the May board meeting questioned how they could possibly continue to trust him or the board. As we’ve been watching all of this go down since last spring, it’s safe to say that we’ll have to wait and see how the superintendent’s actions will affect his future with the district.

As we’ve seen—and heard from Terri’s interviews—it’s Terri who started this push to ban books and Terri who doubled down time and again, claiming there was inappropriate content in them. The best we can guess is that Terri perhaps brought up legal concerns (her supporters love to play armchair lawyer when it comes to “obscenity laws”), none of which are applicable here, and the superintendent looked at the entire matter as better safe than sorry.

Twenty-five people spoke at the board meeting on the topic of book banning.

Of those, the majority—who were educators, students or parents with students in the district—spoke against this action. This included the librarian who had given her resignation, which was approved that night. A handful of people spoke in favor of book banning. One hilarious moment came (no pun intended) when Linda Vermooten asked, “Are we really ready for a tsunami of pornography addiction?”

Besides this alarmist narrative making us laugh so hard, we snorted our coffee all over our desks when we watched the May meeting, we have to tell you that it’s just not happening. First of all, there are many layers to addiction and what causes it. Second, Linda is a counselor with a degree from the now-defunct Forest Institute of Professional Psychology. We leave it to you, the reader, to judge the legitimacy of her supposed expertise on this matter.

Obvious Christian bias aside, Linda isn’t a researcher. Nor have any studies been conducted that correlate reading a book with a bit of spice with addiction to anything other than literacy. We did see one study that said porn basically makes people stupid and it gave us a chuckle. That might explain a lot about Terri’s male followers.

In addition to community members, Terri’s own son spoke about his experiences being abused by her.

May 2023 Dshawn Allegations about TCS 2  May 2023 Dshawn Allegations about TCS

One of Terri’s most paranoid supporters, Glennia “Bro” St. John-Sand, wants us to also make sure you know that this son was arrested in 2016 for allegedly threatening his mother. According to case documents, he pled to a lesser charge and served a pretty minimal sentence. So we’re making you aware of that because we absolutely don’t condone violence or harassment, unlike Terri’s supporters who recently called for doxxing the teachers involved in the book review (because, spoiler alert, they decided the books were fine) and showing up at their houses.

Dec 2023 TCS supporters wants to dox teachers
As a reminder, Terri said in her April 23, 2023 email, “I truly believe that modeling healthy ways to communicate and to deal with conflict may be the most important thing we teach our students this entire year.” Look at all this healthy communication!


Terri’s son acknowledged that his actions in 2016 were not appropriate, and he’s right. It wasn’t, even in light of the horrific abuse he suffered at his mother’s hands for years. These days, it looks like he has done his best to stay away from her, to break those ties and focus on his own well-being, and we wish him well.

Glennia also feels that we are being unfair by not sharing any misdeeds on the recall side. We have yet to reach that part of the train wreck. There have also been claims by Terri’s supporters of misconduct by those who petitioned for the recall, but no proof. If Glennia or anyone else would like us to include such things, we need proof, because that is what we have been posting—cold, hard facts.

So Glennia, bro, if you have some, we encourage you to reach out to us by emailing Jade, our researcher, at We here at Meadowlark pride ourselves on reporting facts. The whole “I don’t like you pointing fingers at me, so look at what they did! They’re just as bad!” deflection tactic leaves a bad taste in our “beaks.”

But this is not the story of Terri’s broken familial relationships. Just because you want to discredit her son based on this particular incident doesn’t change his experience being raised by his mother. You could tell us that Terri spent the last eighteen months deworming orphans in Somalia, and that still wouldn’t have any bearing on her behavior now.

This is about how she came to spread the hateful rhetoric and conspiracy theories that educators are groomers to, according to her September 8 interview, the “poor” people of Plattsmouth, especially the single parent families in the “uninformed little town.”

Aug 2023 TCS post to LaVerna in the library

This is the story of how she came to be a book banner screaming about imaginary pornography from a school board seat to which she was elected by community members who are now all too happy to recall her and hope, probably beyond hope, to return to civility.

Is that even possible? The events after the May school board meeting tell us it’s not likely…

Read Any Banned Books Lately?

If you’ve read any of the 52 books on Terri’s must-ban list, we want to hear from you! Whether you loved them, hated them, or were ambivalent, we want your opinions.

Those of us at Meadowlark have read the majority of the books because we love to read! Even cooler is the fact that the parents and community members in Plattsmouth who believe in “Freadom” also took the time to dig into the book list and find out what all the fuss was about when Terri pushed for their removal.

Are you one of the students, parents or community members who read the books at the center of this controversy? If you want to share your thoughts on those titles, Jade welcomes them at

If you give permission, we will share these “reviews” in a future post (or perhaps a few posts) to showcase the variety of opinions on these books. Personal information will be withheld at your request, and under no circumstances will we publish the names or ages of minors who share their thoughts.

More about Nico Emerson

Nicolette "Nico" L. Emerson is an observer of politics in small town Nebraska, especially as it pertains to education, school boards, and adults who want to decide the direction of the next generation.