Richmond mother sues school board over changes

Posted at 2:12 PM, Sep 04, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-04 14:29:06-04

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) - A Richmond mother has accused some Richmond School Board members of abusing their power and violating their own by-laws.  Controversy over the closing of Clark Springs Elementary led Kimberly Johnson Jones to sue the Board.

Johnson Jones is backed by The Richmond Coalition for Quality Education.

The lawsuit claims school rezoning changes - referred to as Plan C - were made without proper notice.  And the suit alleges the "decision was done in an arbitrary and capricious manner."

"Plan C just came out of nowhere. We didn't know where Plan C came from," Marvin Green with The Richmond Coalition for Quality Education said.  "Plan C is here, and presented to us.  Plan C closed Clark Springs, which was a high-performing school to our knowledge."

The filing claims the rezoning was done to appease those living in certain areas.

Board members Glen Sturtevant and Kimberly Gray are specifically named in the lawsuit. They are accused of "purposefully discriminating against minority students and families in the City of Richmond in order to serve the needs of a small, affluent population of families from predominantly white neighborhoods."

Sturtevant told CBS 6 in no way was the rezoning a racial issue, considering he has two bi-racial children of his own.

"In the city it's not unexpected," Sturtevant said.  "The School Board's job is to implement rezoning policies and that's ultimately what we did."

Johnson Jones also claims her daughter's new school Overyby Sheppard Elementary is 'barely above accreditation.'

The newly filed suit is now in the hands of the Richmond Circuit Court.