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School official sues after being censured for trans bathroom Facebook post

School official sues after being censured for trans bathroom Facebook post
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The vice chair of a Virginia school board is suing her colleagues after they censured her for a Facebook post about the district’s trans-inclusive bathroom policy.

In a lawsuit filed Monday by the Founding Freedoms Law Center on behalf of Angela Allen, the Goochland County School Board member accuses fellow board members of defamation and civil conspiracy. Allen claims that fellow board member Karen R. Horn, John D. Wright, C. Michael Newman, and Sandra Barefoot-Reid — who are all named as defendants in the lawsuit ± collectively set out to harm her reputation and “silence” her via a May 9 censure resolution.

The censure resolution, included in Allen’s legal filing, accuses her of violating the school board’s ethics code as well as the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution and Title IX of the federal education law.

According to the lawsuit, the censure, which was approved in a 4-to-1 vote, came in response to a January 26 Facebook post in which Allen questioned the district’s policy of allowing students to use the bathroom of their choice regardless of the sex they were assigned at birth.

“This week I learned that [Goochland County Public Schools] students are allowed to use restrooms different from their biological sex,” Allen wrote in the post. “Is this our community’s expectation?”

Allen claims in her lawsuit that the post was “completely neutral.” But, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the post led many community members to attend school board meetings to express their disapproval of the policy. In its censure resolution, the board described the comments on Allen post as “divisive and threatening to parents of students with unique needs.” It further accuses Allen of impeding and undermining “the division’s dedication to its goals of equity and inclusion.”

At the May 9 meeting, one board member said that Allen’s post “was inflammatory, was incomplete and distorted characterization of Goochland County Public Schools practices and policies,” according to local ABC affiliate WRIC.

“I fully refute your censureship and I do not report to any of you,” Allen said. “I work for the citizens and the people of District 2.”

In her lawsuit, Allen, who is running for reelection, claims that she has “suffered significant damages including, but not limited to, financial loss, emotional distress, loss of standing in the community, damage to her reputation, and impairment of her ability to be re-elected as a GCSB member.” She is seeking nearly $1 million in damages.

In a statement provided to WRIC on Monday, the four school board members listed in the lawsuit said that they would “be consulting with legal counsel.” On Friday, The Christian Post reported that it had received a statement from the defendants calling Allen’s lawsuit is “meritless.” They also accused her of attempting to “intimidate the members of the School Board into silence.”

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