Letter – Did School Board violate policy?

Published 5:20 pm Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

On June 11, 2015, the Isle of Wight County School Board reviewed and revised Policy FFA, “Naming School Facilities. In pertinent part, it provides:

No school will be named for a living individual. Schools may be named for individuals who have been deceased for at least 10 years. ….The procedure for renaming a school or school facility will be the same as the procedure outlined above.”

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Just last month, the School Board ceremoniously named the CTE Building (a “school facility”) after former Superintendent Jim Thornton, against school board policy.

There are many good reasons to put off such honors until after someone is deceased.  Importantly, you never know what may come out about a person after they leave a position or who that person will ultimately become during their lifetime, as mentioned by the only board member to vote nay, John Collick. In fact, Jim Thornton is clearly not above controversy, considering the readers of this paper overwhelmingly disfavored the naming of the building after him.

Ms. Tynes apparently understood the reasons for the rule when it was adopted during her first term on the School Board. Indeed, someone on the School Board or its attorney might have thought to look to statute, regulation or policy for guidance or naming conventions. But as with most decisions of this School Board, rules are for thee and not for we! And we, the lowly subjects of our rulers, are left without recourse other than either paying an attorney to force our elected officials to follow the rules they are sworn to uphold or electing new officials.

I hope you will join me in voting out of the “School Board Palace” Michael Vines and Renee Dial, who supported naming the CTE after Dr. Thornton in violation of School Board policy.


Jennifer Rawls

Mandeville, Louisiana

Editor’s note: The letter writer splits her time between Louisiana and her hometown of Windsor. See related news story on the front page of today’s edition.