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‘Bad decision making,’ school official disappointed mayor altered images for his agenda

Posted at 7:46 PM, Feb 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-01 19:46:51-05

RICHMOND, Va. - Kathy Peaseley teaches at a Richmond Public School. She, along with several other folks, attended a City Council meeting back in December 2015, to show support for increasing teachers' wages.

She and others held up signs that read "Support our Schools" to advocate for changing the teacher's pay scale. However, Peaseley and others, said they are disappointed after the pictures were altered and used for a different agenda, by the mayor.

The photos could be seen at Mayor Dwight Jones' State of the City address, as he talked about increasing taxes to increase support for schools.

"To see a highly elected official use that, make a mockery of it, to serve a political agenda, it just shouldn't happen," said Chris Lombardi who was also in the photograph holding up a sign.

The signs were altered from "Save our Schools" to say "Cut Our Services" and "Raise Our Taxes."

An image that was altered by the City of Richmond, and shown as an example at the Mayor's State of the City speech.

An image that was altered by the City of Richmond, and shown as an example at the Mayor's State of the City speech.

The presentation was prepared by the Mayor's press secretary, Tammy Hawley.

Hawley said this was all in support of finding more funding for schools, and the disclaimers on the photos were evident ( the text seen at the bottom).

In his speech where the altered images were used, Jones discussed having a possible public vote in November regarding raising real estate taxes for school funds.

An image that was altered by the City of Richmond, and shown as an example at the Mayor's State of the City speech.

An image that was altered by the City of Richmond, and shown as an example at the Mayor's State of the City speech.

Still, Richmond School Board Member, Kim Gray called the altered images "bad decision making."

Gray said funding can come from other places.

"For instances, it took multiple hours, I would imagine, to alter those photographs and that was our tax dollars being spent so there are lots of means and ways," said Gray.

A spokesperson for Richmond Public Schools said Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden called it disappointing to see the image misrepresented from the original intent of those who are pictured. Dr. Bedden apologized to the teachers and parents that took the time out of their schedules to show up in support of the schools.

The original picture

The original picture