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Madison parent claims the school board made a mistake by naming ‘Christmas’ Break

Judge David B. Franzen of the Madison County Circuit Court will conduct a judicial review of the county school board meeting on Monday, April 15, to determine whether it was appropriate to rename winter break to Christmas Vacation or, in his opinion, the board has crossed the boundaries. exercised his authority, acted arbitrarily or capriciously, or abused his discretion. MadRapp file photo.

Culley asks the Circuit Court for judicial review

The revised 2024-25 Madison County Public Schools calendar was unanimously approved Monday evening.

Members of the Madison County School Board voted unanimously Monday night to approve the official calendar for the 24-25 school year, which changes the name of Winter Break to Christmas Break. On Thursday, Wolftown resident Christina Culley filed a petition for judicial review, pro se, regarding the vote in Madison County Circuit Court.

Pro se means she doesn’t have a lawyer.

Per Virginia Code, Section 22.1-87 Any parent, custodian, or legal guardian of a student attending the public schools in a school division who is aggrieved by any action of the school board may, within thirty days of such action, petition the court having jurisdiction in the school division to review the action of the school board. Such review shall be made on the basis of the petition, the minutes of the meeting at which the school board action was taken, any orders of the school board, any certified copy of the transcript of any hearing before the school board. , and any other evidence deemed relevant by the court to the issues on appeal. The actions of the school board will be sustained unless the school board has exceeded its authority, acted arbitrarily or capriciously, or abused its discretion.

Culley’s handwritten petition asks Circuit Court Chairman David B. Franzen to reconsider the school board’s decision to change the school’s name.

‘My name is Christian Culley. I live in Madison County and have two children who attend Madison Public School,” she wrote. “I request a review of the decision and position of the elected official’s religious beliefs during the hearing. The student board member’s responsibilities to speak on behalf of her fellow students were also not taken into account.

“It creates division and protected spaces to ensure inclusion for all Madison County students.”

Culley did not include any of the items cited in the code, specifically meeting minutes, votes, transcripts or other evidence. She also did not inform Superintendent Anna Graham, the board secretary, nor any of the board members individually.

In her defense, Superintendent Anna Graham said Friday that her office has no time frame for preparing the minutes, as long as the task is completed before the next meeting, scheduled for May 13.

The Code also stipulates that any judicial review application and associated documents must be filed within 30 days of the said meeting – i.e. two days after the next meeting.

The school board produced an unedited video posted on the division’s YouTube channel in which the entire elected board and student representative Jenna Cropp expressed their feelings and positions prior to the vote.

At its May 13 meeting, the body could potentially approve a revised policy describing all holidays and breaks by name.