GOOCHLAND COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A Goochland County School Board member is suing other members of the board after she claims they defamed her character.
Founding Freedoms Law Center filed a lawsuit on Monday on behalf of Angela Allen, a Goochland County School Board member representing district two. The suit names each of Allen’s four colleagues in the lawsuit alleging they made false statements against her.
The lawsuit is seeking between $500,000 and $830,000 compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages.
The Goochland County School Board adopted a censure resolution against Allen over a social media post she made in January about the school district’s protocol regarding restroom use, among other actions.
The Facebook post said, “This week I learned that GCPS students are allowed to use restrooms different from their biological gender. Is this our community’s expectation?”
The board voted 4 to 1 to censure her during a May 9 meeting, saying she violated the board’s Code of Ethics in multiple ways and had violated and encouraged violations of federal law and the U.S. Constitution.
“The statement was inflammatory was incomplete and distorted characterization of Goochland county public schools practices and policies,” said a school board member during the May 9 meeting.
“I fully refute your censureship and I do not report to any of you. I work for the citizens and the people of district two,” Allen said in response to the vote.
Michael Sylvester, legal counsel with Founding Freedoms Law Center, said Allen was just doing her job.
“It’s a lawsuit that deals with a shocking and sad situation,” he said. “This can’t happen where an individual is simply trying to fulfill their public duties and they’re defamed in this fashion.”
In 2021, the General Assembly passed a law instructing local school divisions to grant protections to transgender students.
The Virginia Department of Education’s model policies at the time included allowing the use of name and gender pronouns students identify with, and allowing students to use restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity.
At that time, Goochland Schools adopted guidance which met the department of education’s standards.
The school board members listed on the lawsuit sent a prepared statement to 8News Monday afternoon saying, “The School Board members listed in the suit will be consulting with legal counsel and will not make a public statement at this time.”