HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Henrico County Public Schools announced on Thursday that Michelle “Micky” Ogburn has stepped down from her position as School Board Chair.
While the school board works to elect a new chair, Vice Chair Marcie Shea will serve as acting chair until an election can be held on April 22.
An announcement from Henrico Schools stated that Ogburn officially resigned from the leadership position at noon Thursday.
According to Shea, Ogburn will continue to represent the Three Chopt District on the school board.
The Henrico NAACP released the following statement on Wednesday that called for the immediate removal of Micky Ogburn as Chair of the Henrico County Public Schools School Board.
“The Henrico NAACP urges the immediate removal of Micky Ogburn from her position as Board Chair of HCPS, and permanent disbarment from serving in a board leadership position again in the future.
After observing Micky Ogburn’s years-long pattern of racial insensitivity, the Henrico NAACP has lost confidence in her ability to lead our county’s growing and diverse school district.
Her actions do not reflect the values that HCPS claims to purport, and are in direct conflict with the educational needs of African-American students in Henrico.
In March, Ogburn shared a controversial Facebook post with a picture of the Grinch giving the middle finger. This picture was accompanied by a poem criticizing people for “canceling” Dr. Seuss’s books.
Ogburn issued a public apology at a school board meeting, saying she did not fully read the post before sharing it. Ogburn said after she read the post in its entirety, she deleted it immediately.
“Henrico County’s a majority minority school district. We lost faith in her ability to lead all students and ensure all students had equal opportunity,” said Monica Hutchinson, second vice president of the Henrico NAACP.
Before her resignation, 8News asked Ogburn about the NAACP’s statement. She said on Wednesday that during her more than 20 years as a teacher, she has “always worked for the equity of all children and families.”
“I understand that my mistake for reposting something I had not completely read was painful. If I had read and seen the entire post and attached photo, I would have never reposted it because it does not reflect who I am, what I believe in, or my work as an educator,” Ogburn said in an email on Wednesday. “It was a mistake for which, from the onset, I have taken full responsibility, have been responsive to all who have contacted me, and have apologized as best as I can. “
Ogburn added she was open to having a discussion with the group before their statement and she would still welcome one.
Hutchinson said that as of Thursday afternoon, the chapter has not heard from Ogburn regarding a conversation.
“I will say that she knows several of us. We’re not strangers to the schools,” Hutchinson told 8News. “If you’re serious about it, then we’re here, you can reach out but at the end of the day, the kids are our focus.”
Hutchinson also said the issue goes beyond the controversial Facebook post.
She said in 2016, Ogburn banned a video dealing with barriers, discrimination and systemic racism from being shown.
“Micky banned it because she felt it was racially divisive,” Hutchinson said. “Some people were saying ‘oh it’s for white guilt,’ but it wasn’t. It’s been shown all over the country and we are the only county to have banned it.”
She added there are other systemic issues that have been going on in the county for decades, such as the divide between east and west Henrico, and the racial disparity gap when it comes to special education. Hutchinson said the county is mostly made up of minority students, and Ogburn is not addressing the systemic issues that impact them.
“She’s nowhere where she needs to be in order to lead our children,” Hutchinson said.
8News reached out to Ogburn for comment following her resignation as chair, but has not received a response.
Shea said the issue will be further discussed at the board’s April 22 meeting.