Thursday, January 13, 2022

VA: Book Burning Fan Now Board Chairman

You may recall the story about Spotsylvania school district in Virginia, where books were being protested and pulled and two board members thought maybe the books should be burned.

Well, one of those guys is now the board chairman, and things are blowing up in a hurry.

The board is a 4-3 board (though those who didn't want to burn the books were supportive of banning them), and the 4-person conservative majority installed Kirk Twigg as the president. 

Scott Baker has been with district in various capacities for years before becoming superintendent in 2012; he won some awards for his superintendenting prowess, but there's a portion of the local populace that are not fans. There's a whole blog devoted to laying out his many alleged sins, but not being hard enough on dirty books has drawn the most criticism in the recent past, along with agitation over school closings.

Baker was on his way out, with departure negotiated for the end of this school year. That was not fast enough for Twigg, who has been vocal in his opposition to various books. The ban was centered on "sexually explicit" books, but Twigg, besides expressing his interest in burning objectionable material also added that he would like to broaden the criteria for rooting through the school libraries, saying, “There are some bad, evil-related material that we have to be careful of and look at."

Twigg promised that, if elected chair of the board, his first action would be to fire Baker effective immediately. Last Monday night, in a meeting characterized as chaotic and contentious, he did just that. He called an unscheduled closed session during the meeting, then came back to announce that Baker had been terminated--before being reminded that the board had to take an actual vote. 

No reason has been given for the firing, but it's Virginia, a right to work state, and no reason has to be given. 

Members voting against the termination were vocal in their opposition. "He has spoken about confidential (human resources) matters in open session. He is constantly using his AOL account to send and read emails throughout school board meetings. He wants to burn books," said former chair Dawn Shelley. Others questioned how this was for the good of students or families in Spotsylvania.

Several news accounts try to capture how off the rails this portion of the meeting was, but you really have to see it to believe it. I'll just put it here.

Talking over each other. No apparent knowledge of any rules of order. It's a mess.

There is, of course, a petition up to remove Twigg, who was elected to the board in 2015 unopposed. In 2019 he ran again, this time with opposition--and a few thousand dollars. He allegedly told a Tea Party gathering that there would be big changes once his "constitutional, conservative, Republican, Christian" majority takes over. His support included $2,204 of his own money, $1,200 from Peter Dechat, and $908 from the Republican Party of Spotsylvania County. (DeChat could be this guy, a Christian motivational speaker, but I can't confirm that for certain).

As you watch the clip above, you'll note that the crowd cheers for Twigg's announcement, and also for the people disagreeing with him. No word yet on the superintendent fill-in. Also no word yet on whether or not the new chair will be scheduling book bonfires any time soon. Interesting days ahead in Virginia. 


  1. Yet another county to add to my do-not-hire list

    It's getting lengthy

  2. It's only getting worse in Virginia. Youngkin has appointed Jillian Balow, formerly Wyoming’s elected superintendent of public instruction. In addition he has appointed to another woman who has been part of the anti-equity group known as Parents Defending Education. White supremacy doesn't just come in camouflage, it comes in pearls and high heels.

  3. Only gonna get crazier. Hold on. It is going to be a bumpy ride.