The Alleghany County Board of Supervisors has filed a petition in Alleghany County Circuit Court to remove Donnie Kern from the school board.
The petition was filed Wednesday and signed by all seven members of the board of supervisors. It lists several reasons for seeking Kern’s removal, including:
• On several occasions after he assumed office as a school board member, Kern has referred to special needs students as “retards;”
• On several occasions, Kern has falsely stated that school officials locked a special needs student in a closet and that the student later brought presents to win favor with special education personnel at the school;
• Most recently, Kern made the false statement about locking a special needs student in a closet in an advertisement he placed in the Virginian Review. Kern has admitted that he made no effort to determine the truth or falsity of the statement prior to publishing it;
• In publishing the story about the special education student who was allegedly locked in a closet, Kern exhibited a reckless disregard for the falsity of the statement and defamed the director of special education for Alleghany County Public Schools and other school employees;
• Since his appointment to the school board, Kern has engaged in behavior toward school division staff and administration that prompted a member of the school administration to file a complaint of a hostile work environment as a result of Kern’s actions;
• Pursuant to policy, the school board retained a third party to investigate the hostile work environment;
• Kern refused to participate in the investigation even though it was mandated by school board policy;
• The third party neutral found that Kern indeed created a hostile work environment for the administrator;
• Kern’s actions since the board of supervisors appointed him to the school board constitute a vendetta fueled by Kern’s belief that the school system has somehow mistreated his child or children;
• Kern has made false and baseless complaints of illegalities and corruption at Alleghany County Public Schools that have disrupted the work of the school administration and cost the school division thousands of dollars in legal fees that were otherwise unnecessary;
• Kern’s actions constitute neglect of duty, misuse of office and incompetence in the performance of his duties;
• Kern’s neglect of duty, misuse of office and incompetence in the performance of his duties have had a material adverse effect upon the conduct of the school board.
The Alleghany County Board of Supervisors appointed Kern to the school board as the Clifton Forge West District representative for a term that began on July 1, 2018.
Supervisors, following a closed meeting Tuesday, voted to initiate legal steps to have Kern removed from his school board seat.
The Virginian Review has been serving Covington, Clifton Forge, Alleghany County and Bath County since 1914.