What is the role of the School Board and what is the role of the Superintendent regarding making policy and regulation?
Rather than creating the policies themselves, the School Board on Tuesday voted 7-3 to allow the superintendent to develop regulations to comply with Code of VA 22.1-23.3 and the VDOE's Model Policies for Transgender Students.
Let’s look at law:
Code 22.1-78: A school board may adopt bylaws and regulations NOT inconsistent with state statutes and regulations….
Code 22.1-253.13.7: Each school board (not superintendent) shall ensure that policies are developed giving consideration to the views of teachers, parents and other concerned citizens
Let’s look at the School Board's own by-laws:
By-law 1-31- It is the responsibility of the School Board (not superintendent) to adopt policies for governing schools……. When changes in policy are made, these shall be prepared, notification provided to the public and staff and placed on the division website. It is the obligation of the superintendent and staff to familiarize themselves with and follow School Board policies and regulations. (if superintendent is supposed to familiarize and follow regulations, that would seem to indicate that he isn’t the one who is supposed to create them)
Code 22.1-70 Powers and Duties of the Superintendent…
A division superintendent shall perform such duties as prescribed by law, school board and state board
Policy 2-8 states that the superintendent’s responsibilities shall be enumerated in the Superintendent’s contract. So, let’s look at the contract language related to regulations:
Pg 2 item 7: shall from time to time SUGGEST regulations, policies, rules and procedures. Item 7: shall make RECOMMENDATIONS for needed policy or regulation changes.
Policy Review Committee "SPECIAL" Meeting TODAY to "redo" their previous meetings. The disaster that is the VB School Board continues......
Watch the meeting live for yourself at 4pm today at this link.
I watched the previous "special" meeting that the PRC held last week and noticed that the chair of the committee was not following the by-laws. She would call for a vote without a motion or even stating what they were voting on. She didn't even call for a vote on every item. I pointed this out to the Chair of the Board and to our attorney, perhaps that is why they have called another "special" meeting.
Apparently this is how they have been operating in other meetings also. The attached agenda shows 120 pages worth of by-laws and policies they want to retake votes on before tomorrow's School Board meeting.
Some of the topics include: the Transgender Policy, limiting access to the public, requiring permits to gather in the parking lot, banning flags aka "cloth symbols" from being brought onto the grounds and into the chambers of our meetings, reduce the amount of time that a speaker can speak,....and more.
I guess it is so important for some Board members to be sure they get these policy and by-law changes on tomorrow's meeting agenda in order to be able silence the public as soon as they can.
My vote would be to stop trying to silence the public. Stop trying to silence other Board members and get on with the business of the students and our fiscal responsibilities as Board members. However, only the Chair and Vice-Chair of the School Board have authority over the agenda so I will just keep swimming upstream to raise awareness about the tyrannical actions that this board continues to bring forward.
On Sept 14th, the VB School Board will vote on a policy that could be a violation of state law and the constitution. The actual policy up for a vote can be found here. Please review the flyer created by some concerned parents that details how you can have your voice heard. Please email the board, sign up to speak and attend the rally.
First, there are some items in the VDOE model policy that I support, such as anti-bullying/anti-harassment. However, we have had those policies in place in Va Beach for a while.
Here are some details of concerns with the proposed policy:
Violation of Religious Liberty:
The School Board elected member's oath of office is to uphold the US and Va constitutions
Article 1 Sec 16 VA Constitution Bill of Rights:
No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever…. Nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion, and the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.
1st Amendment to the US Constitution established the The Free Exercise Clause which gives us the right to worship or not as we choose. The government can't penalize anyone because of their religious beliefs.
The proposed policy/regulation states:
Violation of Parental Rights
Virginia § 1-240.1: Rights of parents. A parent has a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education, and care of the parent's child.
B. Student name and gender pronouns
1. In accordance with this subsection, students will be allowed to use a name and
gender pronoun that reflects their gender identity without substantiating evidence. (no parental requirement of approval or notification)
2. At the written request of the student or parent/legal guardian of a minor student,
use the name and pronoun that corresponds to the student’s or parent/legal
guardian’s request. The school administration where the student attends school
may request that the request be made in writing and signed by the student or
parent/legal guardian of a minor student.
5. In the situation when parents/legal guardians of minor students (under 18 years of
age) do not agree with the minor student’s request to adopt a new name and/or
pronoun, the student and parent/legal guardian will work with school
administrators to determine how to address the student’s needs. The safety and
welfare as well as the student’s access to educational services and opportunities
should serve as the primary focus. (if a parent doesn’t agree, how will the school force them to “work with the school”?)
1. Access to all facilities (bathrooms/locker rooms) that correspond to a student's gender identity shall be available to all students.
2. Overnight trips: Students may choose the rooming, bathing, changing facilities that align with the student's gender identity. Students should not be placed into single occupancy accommodations not required for other students. (males and females could be rooming with one another on overnight field trips.)
For those having trouble reading the document attached below:
August 31, 2021
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE VIRGINIA BEACH SCHOOL BOARD FROM
MEMBER VICTORIA MANNING
Reference 9/1/21 Special School Board Meeting
The Chair’s stated purpose of the meeting: “reviewing, making recommendations or taking actions regarding how the School Board conducts meetings, accepts public comments at certain meetings, prepares for meetings and handles decorum, order and safety or health mitigation protocols for meetings. The School Board reserves the right to address related matters that arise during the Special Meeting.”
Due to an important family obligation, I will not be able to attend the special school board meeting called on 8/30/21 by the Chair. However, I am offering my input on the topics that may be discussed in the meeting.
I call on my colleagues to respect the people we serve. Encourage public participation and in-person access to our meetings. Rather than starting our agendas and meetings with two pages of rules for the public, perhaps we should begin the agenda/meeting with appreciation of the sacrifices of families and students, as well as the hard work of our teachers. Acknowledge that people are upset and want to be heard. These children who are impacted by the decisions we make are not ours. They do not belong to the government. They belong to loving and caring parents who know what is best for their children and the community deserves to bring their passionate voices to our meetings.
My specific input:
1. Public meetings should be open to the public: The Board should be able to offer seating for a minimum of 50 people. Students in classrooms will be 3ft (or less in some cases) yet in our last Board meeting the seating arrangements were more than 6ft apart and only allowed for approximately 8 people. City Council does not have mitigations or social distancing requirements in place and they have been welcoming the public. If City Council can do it, then we can also.
2. Time limits on public speakers: Suggestions have been made by some Board members to reduce the amount of time the public has to address the Board (their elected representatives). Just a few years ago when we voted to increase the time limit from 3 to 4 minutes, it was overwhelmingly supported. One of the reasons mentioned was that the public could only speak once for all items (both agenda and non-agenda). Speakers at city council meetings have an opportunity to speak multiple times during the same meeting and could easily have 15 minutes or more to speak at each meeting. We have had more speakers than we typically have had in the past due to the public feeling unheard regarding decisions being made by the Board. People are upset about decisions made by this Board and they have the right to speak. As a reminder, by-law 1-30 does not permit changes to by-laws unless it is first presented as “information” at one meeting and then voted on at the following meeting. Therefore, no action should be taken on by-law changes at this special meeting.
3. Respect the public and one another: Practice what you preach. If the Chair and Vice-Chair want to shut citizens down for harsh speech and being off agenda then they should consider doing the same when Board members do it. The law protects a citizen’s rights to disagree, be angry and to offer harsh speech to their elected officials. School Board leadership never sent “warning letters” to members of the public when harsh speech was levied at me, it is only done when it is pointed at members of the majority. I believe the Board is violating the First Amendment by censoring speech based on content and I ask for that to end immediately. The members of the public who have come to speak have been peaceful and have attended our meetings out of passion and true concern for the children of the City of Virginia Beach Public Schools. Still members of this Board have tried to paint these parents, grandparents, Pastors, community leaders, etc as a “violent mob” and that false narrative needs to end. When the NEA grim reaper was walking through the parking lot of our administration building scaring people and angry protestors lined the parking lot blowing their horns they were hailed as heroes. The double standard being applied needs to end.
4. “Warning letters” to the public: These letters sent out by the Board Chair recently were not authorized by the Board. Additionally, at least one of the letters was not factual and quoted statements made by the recipient that were absolutely false. Under no circumstance do I support “warning letters” being sent to members of the public. If someone violates a law, then follow the proper procedures to address those issues. The Chair did not send warning letters to other Board members when they acted inappropriately in meetings and the citizens of this great City certainly should not be “reprimanded” by their elected representatives.
5. Following proper meeting procedures and advanced preparation: School Board leadership should be well versed in the Board By-laws and Roberts Rules of Order. The Board chair often has to refer to the school board attorney on meeting procedures which takes valuable time. The Board and Public should also be provided with supporting agenda documents well in advance of the meeting in order to have time to prepare. Often, we have not seen any of the information being presented to us until the meeting begins. Being able to review and prepare in advance saves valuable time during the meeting
School Board At-Large, City of Virginia Beach
Regulations for the Transgender policies have been made public. Please review. Vote THIS Tuesday 8/24 (VOTE POSTPONED UNTIL SEPT 14)
Rather than presenting the transgender policies/regulations to the public two weeks in advance of a vote, the School Board is fast tracking this topic. The public will only have a few days to review, provide input and sign up to speak. Was this done on purpose to keep the public in the dark? (UPDATE: VOTE POSTPONED UNTIL SEPT 14TH)
The School Board is abrogating its responsibility to enact policy to the unelected Superintendent. The School Board will be voting on a policy directing the Superintendent to create a regulation on Transgender policies. Please be aware that the superintendent may change regulations WITHOUT school board approval. Below is the proposed associated policy and regulations.
Items in RED are additions/changes to policy/regulation.
Please sign up to speak at the next school board meeting (either in person or via zoom). Agenda found here.
Email the School Board your thoughts: email@example.com
Transgender Policy Vote THIS Tuesday 8/24: School Board lack of transparency and delegating its responsibilities to the Superintendent.
The VDOE created Model Policies for transgender students and local school boards have been told to implement these policies. While there are some positive items in the document (of which the VA Beach Schools Board has already implemented), it is my view that some of these policies violate other laws and the constitution in the area of parental rights.
Lack of transparency: the School Board agenda only indicates that the Board will be voting on "Policy 5-7/Non-Discrimination/Non Harassment of Students. However, the agenda does not provide any supporting documents to the public of what exactly will be voted on. The normal process is for a policy to come before the board for "information" and then for a "vote" at the following meeting. This way the public has enough time to know that it is on the agenda and to provide input. As of 8/19/21, the agenda does NOT provide any additional info. However, I do have the policy 5-7 that will be voted on this Tuesday (it is unfortunate that the Board Chair and Vice Chair appear to be hiding this from the public). You can find a copy of the entire VDOE document here and I am also providing a 2 page summary below.
Contact the School Board and let them know your view point: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vote on 8/24: VBCPS Transgender Policies--violating parental rights and School Board delegating its responsibilities to the unelected Superintendent without informing the public
The VA Beach School Board will be voting on a policy that directs the Superintendent to create regulations, practices and trainings that comply with the VDOE Model Policies on Transgender students. While there are some positive items in the document such as anti-bullying policies, there are also policies that take away parental rights and student rights to privacy. VBCPS already has policies in place regarding bullying so there is no need to adopt new ones. The superintendent’s regulations will not require Board approval.
Contact the Virginia Beach School Board and let them know how you feel on this topic: email@example.com. Please also plan to attend the School Board meeting and sign up to speak! More info to come when agenda is published.
Here is a summary of the model policies and what will be implemented if this policy passes:
Here is a copy of the proposed policy:
SCHOOL REOPENING PLAN:
The School Board approved the administration's reopening plan by a vote of 7-4 (nays-Hughes, Manning, Franklin, Weems). Here are the details:
1. Masks required for all students and staff and anyone who enters the building.
2. Contact tracing will continue. When students are masked, an infected student is NOT considered a close contact if between 3-6 ft.
3. Asymptomatic vaccinated individuals are not required to quarantine but non-vaccinated will be.
4. Plexiglass will not be necessary
5. 3 ft of social distancing will be maintained when possible.
6. All sports, clubs, band, performing arts will be in session. Coaches and athletes must wear face coverings indoors. Athletes may relax masks when engaged in physical activity. Masks not required outdoors for athletes, coaches or spectators. Indoor spectators must be 6ft distanced.
I was told that students whose parents do not want them to be masked will NOT be provided an alternative and will NOT be provided with the Constitutional right to a free high quality public education.
Below is a medical exemption for masks if your doctor deems it necessary.
Will the media continue to promote the fake narrative that CRT is NOT in Virginia Schools? Why is the Superintendent of Public Instruction promoting it? It is also being promoted on the Dept of Ed website here
The Va Beach School Board will be holding its annual working retreat session THIS Tuesday and Wednesday. As part of the retreat there will also be a formal meeting on the agenda on Tuesday evening. The entire agenda can be found at this link. The meeting is open to the public and will be held at the Professional Development Center, 641 Carriage Hill Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23452 and will be streamed via VBTV and Zoom (instructions on the agenda).
Topics that will be discussed include:
1. Flexible Scheduling Model (I do not have any details yet on this topic)
2. School Board "Self-Evaluation" led by Consultant Fran Prolman. The School Board Chair has contracted with Dr Prolman at the cost of $1500 for 3 hours.
3. Collective Bargaining
4. Equity Update regarding the recent Equity Assessment performed by QM. This info was presented to the community but the Board has not yet been provided the info. The slides presented to the community are below.
I recently received an email from a Virginia Beach teacher who wanted to share with me what they wrote on their exit survey. The teacher gave me permission to anonymously share what was written How many more teachers have left for the same reasons?
I used to be very proud to say I worked for VBCPS, but our system has really changed over the years. We lack discipline and I am tired of worrying about what color the skin of the child is when there is a discipline problem. I am tired of feeling pressure to pass kids that don’t deserve it. We continue to make the curriculum easier and easier for the students. We don’t teach responsibility. We can’t give below a 49 when a kid should receive a 0 for not producing work. We shouldn’t have to take late work. I don’t get to do any of that in the real world. We are producing lazy children with no work ethic.
I am not a guidance counselor and should not be teaching SEL Lessons. I find much of the material divisive and offensive. We hardly have enough time for the 3 R’s....our kids need to be taught to critically think, not what to think.
It is a real shame to see the directional change of our school system over the past few years. I am glad I no longer have children in the school system. My kids worked hard for their class rank and were very proud of their accomplishments. Students should be recognized for being the top of their class, not just an honor student.
I was finally reading the school newsletter and saw the thing about grades. What if I have a kid that had a D first quarter and an E second quarter, so D for the first semester. Then he has an E for quarter 3 and an E for quarter 4. Would he end up with a D for the year?
Here was the response:
Typically, yes. But you may want to talk with the student's counselor
Please watch the video below to learn about the cancellation of next week's School Board meeting and the lack of transparency and continued dysfunction of the School Board. Also, here is a link to the video that I referenced regarding my colleague Laura Hughes speaking out about the lack of transparency: https://www.facebook.com/laura.k.hughes.58/videos/10159462961291779
Did the Virginia Beach School Board just violate the Virginia Freedom of Information Act and hold an Illegal meeting?
The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) states that proper public notice, reasonable under the circumstances, should be given for a special meeting of a public body. The notice “shall be given contemporaneously with the notice provided to the members of the public body conducting the meeting”. Furthermore, FOIA laws state that meetings shall be open to the public.
It is my opinion that the School Board violated the FOIA open meetings law by not properly publicizing their meeting on June 1 or giving proper notification, by adding an agenda item (that changes the next public meeting date) at the last minute in violation of by-laws and not allowing proper public access to the meeting.
Was the reason for these shenanigans so that the public would be confused about the date of the next meeting and not attend? At the next meeting there will be a vote on Carolyn Weems resolution to Clarify Equity Training that would prohibit Critical Race Theory and associated teachings/trainings.
Was the purpose of these shenanigans to change the next meeting from June 8 to June 9 so that Kimberly Melnyk could attend the next meeting? She is on the Democrat primary ballot for delegate and perhaps she wanted to be at the polls campaigning rather than at the School Board meeting on June 8th.
The School Board had a meeting on June 1, initially for the purpose of evaluating the Superintendent and then holding a vote regarding the evaluation. The School Board has not allowed the public to attend its meetings since the Spring of 2020 and has been streaming the meetings online. The School Board building where the meeting took place is kept locked and the meeting was not broadcast to the public.
School Board By-Law 1-46 states that “No business shall be transacted at any special meeting of the School Board which does not come within the purposes set forth in the call for the meeting unless all Members of the School Board are present, and there is a unanimous agreement to consider additional items of business.”. The School Board Clerk (who is new to the position and is directed by the School Board Chair), did put out a notice to the School Board via email on May 26, 2021 at 5:33pm of a special meeting “for the purpose of conducting the Superintendent’s annual evaluation.” No further agenda items were included in the notice.
The School Board did not post this “special” meeting on its website where it posts its meeting schedule. If you check the website here, it is still not listed. As a School Board member, I was made aware through email from the School Board chair on May 17th that the Board would be holding a special meeting on June 1. Based upon my interpretation of FOIA, the public should have been notified contemporaneously on May 17th by publicizing it on the School Board website where the other public School Board meetings are posted.
I notified the School Board Chair on May 28th that I did not see notice for our public meeting on the School Board website and that I didn’t feel that proper notice had been given to the public regarding the meeting. I also sent the School Board Chair an email on June 1 at 11:43am that I believed the Board was in violation of the Open Meetings Act for not properly publicizing the meeting.
Furthermore, the agenda was modified and an item was added at the last minut (in violation of By-Law 1-46). As a School Board member, I was not notified that an item was being added to the agenda. The item added was for the purpose of changing the date of the next School Board meeting (from June 8 to June 9).
The agenda for the June 1 meeting was posted to the agenda link but it was not seen by the general public because the meeting date was not posted to the public page. The agenda stated that if the public wanted to access the meeting, they would need to contact the clerk prior to noon on June 1. However, how would the public find the agenda if they didn't know about the meeting? If a member of the public did happen to find out about the public meeting at 12:30 on June 1, they would not have been able to access the meeting.
I did not attend the meeting on June 1 because I felt that it was an illegal meeting being held in violation of law.
The public may petition the courts when the Freedom of Information Act is violated.
ACTION: Please send an email to Virginia Beach elected leaders to stop civil rights violations and discrimination in Virginia Beach Schools
Click on the link below (stop discrimination, wokeness and critical race theory) to send an email to School Board and Va Beach General Assembly elected leaders that makes the following statement:
I call on all leaders of Virginia Beach Schools and Virginia Beach General Assembly leaders to stop the violation of civil rights and radical indoctrination in our schools. Virginia Beach Schools sponsored a book study for teachers during the school day and paid for by tax dollars on a book called the Racial Healing Handbook. This book denigrates Christianity, decries "adultism" and discriminates against people based upon the color of their skin. Furthermore, there is an effort being led by School Districts including Virginia Beach to rewrite Virginia History curriculum utilizing Marxist ideologies. All of this information can be found on School Board member Victoria Manning's website: http://www.manningvbsb.com/blog.
I believe that this is a violation of law and call on all elected leaders who take an oath to uphold the constitution to end this discrimination now.
Furthermore, I call on the Virginia Beach School Board to allow the resolution presented by Carolyn Weems to be added to the agenda and that School Board members vote to affirm the resolution. This resolution will bring clarity to equity training and teaching and prevent further discrimination in our schools.
Praising Marxism: Virginia Inquiry Collaborative. Virginia Beach Schools joins 6 other schools across the state to rewrite VA History Curriculum.
The Virginia Beach Schools Superintendent and a majority of the School Board firmly deny that Critical Race Theory is being used in Virginia Beach Schools. I will prove to you that either they are giving “misinformation” or they don’t know what is going on in their own district.
Critical Race Theory and Wokeness have been quietly infiltrating our schools nationwide, in VA and even here in Virginia Beach for the last few years. In 2019, teachers and school leaders from Virginia Beach joined 6 other schools across the state in an effort to rewrite Virginia Public Schools History curriculum through a series of workshops in a group called the Virginia Inquiry Collaborative (VIC). The group has a partnership with C3 Teachers who assist in the Inquiry Design Model. Let me try to explain what I have found.
I have downloaded most of the documents from the website but you can explore it for yourself and I will provide some highlights. I also have documents showing that Virginia Beach Staff and Teachers have participated and are participating in this VIC and some are leading.
One of the top resources listed on the C3 Teachers website is “Making Inquiry Critical”. This document is also mentioned in one of the presentations. Let’s focus on this document as it seems to be a leading document that drives the work of the Virginia Inquiry Collaborative.
The article states that “Critical Theory is one of the predominant schools of thought in social sciences… Critical Theory pays special attention to the social world, focusing on the hierarchical nature of social relations and examining how these unequal power relationships lead to privilege for some and oppression for others”. It goes on to say that “critical theory is about identifying and confronting social injustices” and “action taken from a critical perspective eschews neutrality, actively siding with the oppressed and promoting their liberation”.
It further discusses the roots of critical theory which is traced to the Frankfurt School. They state that “these thinkers sought to extend Marxist theory into the changing social, political and economic landscape”… The “Making Inquiry Critical” document goes on to praise these Marxist ideals and states that “the Frankfurt School’s extension of Karl Marx’s call to produce knowledge and to take action from the standpoint of the oppressed may be its greatest impact”.
The document then highlights the purpose of the C3 Framework: with citizenship education as its central mission and with content that allows for examination of past and current injustices, social studies should be a natural home for critical theory. The footnote at the end of that sentence references Gloria Ladson Billings article on “Critical Race Theory Perspectives on Social Studies”.
The concluding thought is that “we hoped to make it clear that one must be purposeful when designing a critical inquiry. To truly stay within the bounds of critical theory, there must be a focus on identifying unequal power relationships in society coupled with the goal of transforming those unjust social relations. To remain true to critical pedagogy, teachers should work to identify questions that are important to students’ lives and that encourage them to reflect on the ways that they are either privileged or oppressed by social dynamics.
Fox News reports what is happening in VB Schools and School Board Chair Rye and Vice-Chair Melnyk not allowing a resolution to be placed on the agenda to clarify equity training
Thank you to Fox News for getting the word out to the public regarding what is happening in Virginia Beach Schools. You can read their story here. It is difficult as a School Board member to get anything done when Chair Rye and Vice Chair Melnyk will not allow an agenda item to address concerns.
The Racial Healing Handbook: "Christian Privilege", "White Privilege", "Adultism" and more as a book study for teachers in a VA Beach School
My video on this can be viewed here.