As a citizen, parent and grandparent of students in the Culpeper County Public Schools, I am concerned about the politicizing of the School Board and other local elected offices.
Law mandates that Virginia’s school boards be nonpartisan. On Monday, the Culpeper School Board elected Marshall Keene as its chair and selected a resident to fill a Jefferson District vacancy despite residents’ input to the contrary.
Keene’s partisan politics are evident.
Though there were candidates for the vacancy far more educationally and experientially qualified, Deborah Desilets, an active member of the Culpeper County Republican Committee and the mother of GOP Del. Nick Freitas’ campaign manager, was selected 4-2.
Keene has demonstrated aggressive aspirations as chair of the Republican Committee.
His recent organization, encouragement and praise for three CCRC-chartered busses of protesters sent to Washington, D.C., to oppose the presidential election’s outcome is unsettling.
Equally unsettling are photos (including one of Culpeper participants) revealing that most protesters were maskless. They have put many at risk by bringing home COVID-19 infections to which some were exposed.
Keene plans to run for Culpeper County Circuit Court clerk in a special election on March 30. Does he expect to use the School Board chairmanship to help gain the clerk’s post?
Perhaps Keene should resign from the School Board and tackle his clerkship campaign with complete commitment, while performing his full-time job with the county Sheriff’s Office.
Is Keene an appropriate role model for our children, or a politician attempting to gain and exert power?
Removing partisan politics from local government bodies would fit their purpose, i.e. to serve the community without bias. Are we settling for politicians rather than civic servants? Have we become tools for someone else’s aspirations?
With Keene and the School Board, do these recent choices reflect an interest other than our students’ educational welfare?
Citizens’ job is to hold leaders accountable. Let’s do that!