The chairman of the Prince William County School Board has apparently decided to take a page out of Governor Terry McAuliffe’s playbook and violate the law and policy to accomplish his personal agenda.
The Board is set to vote tomorrow night on a controversial policy that would threaten the dignity, privacy and safety of school children in intimate settings like showers and locker rooms. At multiple meetings over the past year, opponents to the policy have dominated the public comment period at board meetings. Apparently, the chair of the board, Ryan Sawyers, is tired of the opposition – you know, parents and grandparents of children in the schools. (Sawyers is currently seeking the Democrat nomination to run for Congress in the First District.)
Through text messages obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request from Delegate Bob Marshall, it was revealed that that Sawyers is apparently trying to use his power and influence to place hand selected speakers at the top of the public comment list for tomorrow's meeting, instead of requiring them to sign up like everyone else.
The first person Sawyers wants to speak? The first openly transgendered candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates who just happens to be running against Marshall in Prince William County.
That would be called a politically motivated PR stunt.
At the last school board meeting, the first ten people who had signed up were able to speak during the public comment period, but several others were forced to wait until the end of the meeting to speak, at the decision of the chair. If that same thing happens tomorrow, it would mean that Sawyers' hand selected proponents of the policy would be able to speak before the vote, but all those who oppose would be forced to wait until after the vote to speak.
According to Marshall’s press release, “A Legislative Services attorney advised Marshall today that the Prince William School Board’s own regulations (133-1) in sections B and E, provide that persons are to speak in the order in which they have put in their requests to speak. Chairman Sawyers’ directive that his preferred list of supporters speak first, ‘cannot be given precedence over any speakers who signed up with the Clerk to speak before the submission by the chair.’”
Marshall said, “I asked the PW School Board Clerk today whether Sawyers’ list was submitted after others had requested to speak. The Clerk responded that other citizens had already signed up to speak prior to the Chairman’s submission. Legal counsel further advised me that if the Board failed to follow its own regulations in adopting transgender policy changes, that failure could give rise to a court invalidation of such action.”
Of course, in Terry McAuliffe’s Virginia, rules and regulations are simply a burden to be ignored. It is his administration that violated the law multiple times to roll back abortion center health and safety standards, a decision that is now being challenged in court. Apparently, now others are following his lead, knowing that the media won’t hold them accountable, and few have the resources to fight these illegal acts in court.
It remains to be seen if the Board bows to the chairman’s illegal action or follows the law.
Media reports indicate that five members of the eight member board are prepared to vote favorably on the dangerous policy, despite overwhelming public opposition.