Suffolk School Board member files lawsuit against fellow members, alleging violation of FOIA

Suffolk
Sherri Story Suffolk School Board_1538580787248.jpg.jpg

SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A Suffolk School Board member has filed a lawsuit against her fellow board members, accusing them of violating the Freedom of Information Act.

Board member Sherri Story alleges her fellow board members met via phone and in-person but violated open meeting laws under the Freedom of Information Act. The school board denies violating FOIA.

She also says she and another board member were improperly excluded from a closed meeting — however, the rest of the school board denies that ever happened.

The school board says “FOIA does not compel attendance at closed meetings from remote locations by School Board members.” Under its interpretation of the law, remote board members can attend open meetings, but the law does not include closed meetings as allowing remote attendance.

The school board also responded to another of Story’s allegations: “Story was repeatedly advised that polling of School Board members to ascertain a member’s position with respect to the transaction of public business is allowed under FOIA, but she continues to maintain a contrary position, which is wholly unsupported in law or fact.”

According to the Suffolk News Herald, Story faced two disciplinary actions for “violating norms and protocols” established by the board in March. She says the discipline was unfair.

In addition, the school board alleged Story was using the lawsuit as a way to distract from her violation of the norms and protocols and the “allegations that she spoke disparagingly to staff and students of Suffolk Public Schools.”

The school board says it will “mount a vigorous defense.”


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