Transparency News, 10/8/21


October 8, 2021
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state & local news stories

Congressional Republicans on Thursday objected to a move by the Justice Department to investigate violent threats made against local school board members and teachers, arguing that the federal agency is “policing the speech of citizens and concerned parents.” The GOP senators said that it was “entirely inappropriate” for the association to ask for a review of whether crimes are being committed under various statutes including the PATRIOT Act, which is aimed at deterring terrorism.
Virginia Mercury

Virginia Beach school officials are reviewing six books after two board members asked to have them banned them from the division’s schools. In an email sent to Superintendent Aaron Spence, members Victoria Manning and Laura Hughes asked that four books be pulled because of “pornographic” content. The four books in question: “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison, “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe, “A Lesson Before Dying” by Ernest Gaines and “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison.In emails obtained through a public records request, Manning wrote that the first four books contain “sexually explicit” content and “pedophilia.” She urged that the books be removed from the libraries’ circulations and blocked electronically and asked for the district to review every book in the system’s libraries. She also asked for staff who approved the books to be disciplined. Manning wrote that she had not read all of the books personally but said of The Bluest Eye that “just reading a few of the pages gives me utter disgust.”
The Virginian-Pilot

A federal jury sided with the town of Abingdon on Thursday in a lawsuit filed by former Town Manager Gregory Kelly, who sought more than $100,000 in severance pay. Kelly, who served as town manager from Sept. 7, 2006, until his resignation on May 7, 2018, filed suit against the town in 2019. He claimed his supervisors, the Town Council and mayor created a hostile work environment and that his rights were violated under the Americans with Disabilities Act when the town did not provide accommodations for his high blood pressure, depression and anxiety. It also said that Kelly was promised a severance package of $110,464, which he never received. “Mr. Kelly has been subjected to insults, invasions of privacy, disclosure of confidential information, and profane and obscene messages from Town leadership and has been publicly ridiculed and defamed on several occasions,” Kelly’s complaint states.
Bristol Herald Courier