Virginia Beach School Board Chairman Beverly Anderson isn’t known for inclusiveness or tolerance.
One of the first things she did upon becoming chairman at the beginning of this year was to unilaterally change the biography on the school board web site of one of the other members because she disagreed with that member’s views on a matter of school policy.
Even the liberal Virginian-Pilot editorial board called on Chairman Anderson to apologize for her spiteful action, stating, “It’s especially curious that Anderson would choose to overstep her authority on such a trivial matter, for no other reason than because she felt she could.”
A positive result of Chairman Anderson’s antic was that at a subsequent retreat, the school board unanimously agreed that no one member, including the chairman, has the right to speak or act on behalf of the entire board unless the board specifically authorizes them to do so.
Apparently Chairman Anderson didn’t get the memo.
At a school board workshop this past Tuesday, Anderson opened the meeting by telling the members that they are prohibited from expressing any opinions to the public about any action taken by the board. She said that all members are expected to support all actions of the board whether or not they voted in favor of that action.
Don’t take my word for it. Let’s go to the tape:
That’s right. During the Reign of Queen Beverly, the elected representatives of the people of Virginia Beach are prohibited from sharing with their constituents their views on matters of school board policy once the board has voted.
In defense of this retraction of board members’ First Amendment rights, Chairman Anderson told the members to remember that each of them represents the entire board to the public. This statement is contrary to the policy agreed to by Chairman Anderson just two months ago that no member of the board represents the board as a whole unless specifically authorized to do so.
When a school board chairman violates members’ free speech rights, what message does it send to the students?
Someone should send Beverly Anderson a memo.
Author: Ken Falkenstein
Ken Falkenstein brings a wealth of experience and expertise in public affairs to Committed Conservative, having worked in all three branches of the government and at every level of government, federal, state, and local. Ken served in the U.S. Army in the last years of the Cold War as a Russian linguist for military intelligence and the NSA. After leaving the Army, he earned his degree in Secondary Education from Old Dominion University, where he also wrote a popular column in the student newspaper called Ken’s Colloquium.
Upon graduation, Ken worked as a Legislative Aide to two Republican members of the Virginia House of Delegates. Ken also served as Corresponding Secretary of the Young Republican Federation of Virginia, managed several successful political campaigns, and ran governmental affairs for the Tidewater Association of Realtors.
In 1995, Ken moved to Washington to serve as a Legislative Assistant to Sen. John Warner (R-VA). While working for Sen. Warner, Ken attended law school at night, earning his J.D. cum laude from the George Mason University School of Law (n/k/a The Antonin Scalia Law School). Since that time, Ken has practiced as a civil litigation attorney, including serving for three years as an Associate City Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, Virginia. Ken previously was a contributor to the highly-regarded political blog Bearing Drift and was a weekly co-host of The Steve Batton Radio Show.
In 2016, Ken ran unsuccessfully for the Virginia Beach School Board. Ken is also a former President of the Down Syndrome Association of Hampton Roads, and he is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Congregation Beth Chaverim in Virginia Beach.
Ken lives in Virginia Beach with his wife, Kim, and three sons, Adam, Dylan, and Joshua, who has Down syndrome and autism. Ken’s writing and activism is motivated and informed primarily by his concern for his kids’ future.