SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The Supreme Court of Virginia has upheld the ruling made by a lower court in regards to the Suffolk school board violating the state’s law meant to ensure transparency and accountability in government.

In September 2021, Judge Matt Glassman rules that the school board violated the open meeting requirements under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) during their July 2021 retreat after it barred citizens from watching the retreat from inside the room.

 Suffolk resident Dr. Deborah Wahlstrom filed a lawsuit against the board after she was removed from the meeting. The superintendent and the school board argued COVID-19 mitigations gave them the right to have the public watch a meeting remotely.

Since the Virginia Supreme Court ruled in favor of Wahlstrom and now the board will have to pay 20,000 in attorney fees.

This was the second FOIA-related ruling against the school board since July 2020.