Unhappy with board chair

Published 6:32 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Editor, The Smtihfield Times:

Since appointment as Isle of Wight County School Board chair, Denise Tynes has demonstrated her inability to conduct a board meeting or act within limits of her authority. At last week’s special meeting, where two parents appealed divisive materials available on students’ accounts, Tynes, in my opinion, violated IWCS policies and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, and she ignored fellow board member John Collick repeatedly.

Tynes included a “first read” revision to the related IWCS policy. Collick argued adding this first read to the agenda required a unanimous vote and addressing this policy during a special meeting (versus a regular meeting) appeared to drive influence on the outcome of the appeal(s). Tynes ignored Collick, blatantly!

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The proposed policy change states materials shall not be removed because of “partisan or doctrinal disapproval.” Will it be the superintendent or the IWCS decision-makers who openly embrace these divisive ideologies that determine what is “partisan”? With this board, it won’t be parents.

The parents who appealed the superintendent’s decisions concerning divisive materials had prepared PowerPoints to share with the public. Individually, Tynes decided these parents would not be allowed to present their PowerPoint using IWCS equipment. Tynes’ justification: They were appealing to the board, not the public.

Collick asked several times, “Who made the decision not to allow PowerPoints?” and was ignored. No surprise, Tynes allowed Michael Vines to compare “Dick and Jane” books of the 1960s to the various sex education materials of today.

Tynes again confirmed her professed authority when she belittled the parent by asking for the names of every other parent who objects to the divisive materials being contested. The most repugnant act of the meeting occurred when Tynes directed Vines to read a previously prepared motion upholding the superintendent’s decision. Collick’s request for discussion and request to form a committee for review were, of course, ignored.

FOIA demands the board make everything public, as it receives it – even if they must stop a meeting to make copies. By prohibiting the public from viewing materials presented to the board, I believe that Tynes violated law and put IWCS at risk of a lawsuit. It’s well past time for her to retire from public service.


Jason P. Maresh