Letter – Blames Tynes  for policy flap

Published 7:45 pm Monday, December 12, 2022

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Last week Isle of Wight County Schools finally provided a public explanation for how a fraudulent version of its policy on renaming school buildings and facilities came to be six months ago. This fraudulent version came about conveniently when School Board Chair Denise Tynes announced her intention to name a facility after former Superintendent James Thornton.

IWCS spokesperson Lynn Briggs accepted the blame for the mistake and explained how it happened. I have known Mrs. Briggs for 25 years and have never known her to be anything but forthright. I find her explanation plausible and I believe her.

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However, there are still some things that need answers:

  1. In June, it was known this policy was two years overdue for review; why did the School Board not review and reapprove it before voting to name a facility after Dr. Thornton?
  2. Why has this fraudulent policy remained posted to the IWCS website and submitted twice for second read when it was known to the chair since at least Oct. 20 it was not the correct version?
  3. Why was Mrs. Briggs not allowed to provide an explanation or further details to the public or press for the past two months?

The answers:

  1. Mrs. Tynes was more worried about her political agenda than following the law.
  2. Mrs. Tynes has final approval for meeting agenda content.
  3. Mrs. Tynes feels she can unilaterally direct the superintendent and staff without consulting the rest of the School Board. This despotic behavior likely includes telling the staff not to discuss this issue and creating an environment where staff members are not able to push back.

Mrs. Tynes should have been apologizing last week, and she most certainly owes Mrs. Briggs an apology for unnecessarily dragging this out for the past two months.

Mrs. Tynes’ reign as board chair has been an unmitigated disaster and her behavior has been akin to a petty tyrant. I look forward to her relinquishing the gavel in January and never being allowed near it again.


Lewis Edmonds