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Effort to recall Virginia Beach School Board members for their support of closures during the pandemic

"Students First VA" is attempting to recall six board members who voted to keep schools closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Big blue signs are popping up along some roadways in Virginia Beach, asking drivers to recall some Virginia Beach City Public School Board members.

One is posted across from Princess Anne High School. The signs direct people to a "Students First VA" website.

“We put up signs all around the city, trying to draw interest,” said Students First VA President Tim Mack.

That webpage lists online petitions to recall Virginia Beach School Board members Carolyn Rye, Trenace Riggs, Jessica Owens, Dottie Holtz, Kimberly Melnyk, and Beverly Anderson.

Mack said parents and community members make up this organization. In addition to Mack, its leadership includes another Virginia Beach School Board member, Victoria Manning.

“The recall was not our original intent when we started the organization,” Mack said.

He said they are attempting to recall six board members who voted to keep schools closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mack said the group believes the closures created educational setbacks.

“The decision they made on a number of occasions to keep schools closed, we thought was definitely a neglect of duty,” Mack said.

Mack said they started collecting written signatures five months ago, but just launched the online petitions Friday.

“It is very insulting,” said Beverly Anderson, one of the targeted school board members. “Me and the other colleagues they are trying to get ousted from the school board, we have done everything we can to make sure we are doing what’s right for students and staff.”

Anderson said she and others listed on the petition are doing their best to keep up with changing COVID-19 guidance throughout the pandemic.

“The information we were given was fluid, it kept changing,” Anderson said. “Just like the virus kept changing.”

Mack said they took the petitions online in hopes of speeding up the recall process. He said the group needs several thousand signatures to make any moves.

“We felt we could reach our goal more quickly with online digital petitions,” Mack said.

Anderson said she doesn’t believe the petitions will make it far.

“Their reason for wanting us recalled is not sufficient,” Anderson said.

13News Now reached out to the other five school board members on the petition but haven’t yet heard back.

School Board members Victoria Manning, Carolyn Weems, Laura Hughes, Jennifer Franklin, and Sharon Felton are not included in the petitions. Manning is also listed on Students First VA's website as being part of the group's leadership, along with Mack and Paula Chang.

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