Del. Anderson and VA-02 Candidate Altman Seeking Injunction Against Barnes and Noble

Delegate Tim Anderson (R-Virginia Beach) is seeking an injunction against Barnes & Noble because the retailer doesn’t limit access to books with mature content. On Wednesday, a judge found probable cause that Gender Queer: A Memoir and A Court of Mist and Fury are obscene as part of a lawsuit…

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Virginia Beach School Board Removes ‘Gender Queer’ from Libraries; Other Books Stay

Virginia Beach School Board Chair Carolyn Rye is directing staff to remove Gender Queer: a Memoir from school libraries, following the recommendation of a work group.

“I think the removal of this book is a win for parents and students,” Board Member Victoria Manning told The Virginia Star.

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Conservative Chesapeake School Board Reverses Decision to Make Masks Optional

The Chesapeake School Board voted five to one on New Year’s Eve to keep masks mandatory for students — a reversal from a December decision to make masks optional after Christmas break. An announcement from the district cited the COVID-19 surge.

“At this meeting, the School Board proposed and approved an amendment to their previous motion from the December 13, 2021 meeting regarding masks for students. Therefore, masks will continue to be required for all
students, staff, and visitors as per the Public Health Order when we return on January 3, 2022. Vaccines and testing for student athletes, however, will remain optional,” Superintendent Jared Cotton wrote.

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Conservative Chesapeake School Board Reverses Decision to Make Masks Optional

The Chesapeake School Board voted five to one on New Year’s Eve to keep masks mandatory for students — a reversal from a December decision to make masks optional after Christmas break. An announcement from the district cited the COVID-19 surge.

“At this meeting, the School Board proposed and approved an amendment to their previous motion from the December 13, 2021 meeting regarding masks for students. Therefore, masks will continue to be required for all
students, staff, and visitors as per the Public Health Order when we return on January 3, 2022. Vaccines and testing for student athletes, however, will remain optional,” Superintendent Jared Cotton wrote.

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Virginia Beach School Board Member Manning Challenges Four Books in School Library

Virginia Beach School Board Member Victoria Manning has challenged four books in the district’s libraries over sexually explicit content.

“I’ve been accused of wanting to ban books, burn books, etc.,” she told The Virginia Star in an email. “However, I am NOT asking for a ban on these books. I’m simply asking for sexually explicit and pornographic materials to not be made available to minors through our schools. If adults want to purchase these books or borrow them from the library then that is their business and their right. At the very least, parents should be made aware in advance of sexually explicit material and be required to OPT-IN for their children to be able to be provided these materials.”

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School Board Politics Underlie Virginia Beach House Races

Virginia Beach has several competitive House of Delegates races where Republicans hope to make gains that will help power them to a House of Delegates majority.  GOP candidates are focusing on a mix of law-and-order and education policy in a city where school board politics underlie several of the local House races.

In HD 83, Attorney Tim Anderson is challenging Delegate Nancy Guy (D-Virginia Beach), a former school board member. In the past, Anderson has endorsed and legally represented School Board Member Victoria Manning, a member of a conservative minority faction on the school board. Manning herself has pushed for recalls of her fellow school board members, including Vice Chair Kim Melnyk, who is challenging Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach) in HD 84. Additionally, 2020 school board candidate Jeffrey Feld is challenging Delegate Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach) in HD 81.

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Virginia Beach School Board Member Leading Recall Effort Against Six Other Members

Virginia Beach School Board Member Victoria Manning is one of the leaders of a group trying to recall six other school board members. Students First VA (SFVA) announced this week that it is collecting signature for the recalls, focusing on 2020-2021 virtual learning.

“We believe that students should always be first and that the goal of the school system, the goal of the board, the goal of the administration, the goal of the teachers should be to put those interests above all else. And we’re not convinced that’s been done around the state, but especially focused here in Virginia Beach,” SFVA President Tim Mack told The Virginia Star. “If you look both at the recall petition themselves as well as our website and other sources, you’ll see that the school board certainly had information to make a different decision than it did and decided to close schools against the wishes of parents, against the direction of local physicians, and healthcare providers, as well as the CDC. And we think that those decisions were not good for all the students in the school, in particular, those with special needs.”

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Prince William and Virginia Beach School Boards Consider Changes to Public Hearings at Meetings

The Prince William School Board (PWSB) and Virginia Beach School Board (VBSB) are both considering changes to public hearing procedures, a move aimed at making meetings more efficient in an era of controversial school board decisions. The PWSB proposal includes an expansion of the citizen comment period from 30 minutes to 60 minutes, but limits speakers to two minutes for a total of 30 speakers. It also prohibits members of the public from having signs in the school board meeting room.

PWSB Chair Babur Lateef read that proposal for the first time at the Wednesday meeting. He explained, “The Prince William County School Board wanted to review the proposed revisions intended to improve our efficiency and safety of board meetings increase avenues of communications with the public particularly on agenda items and incorporate recent legislative changes to provisions of Virginia FOIA as they relate to the confidentiality of the personal contact information of citizens.”

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