Hanover school board member under fire following comment about NAACP president

Hanover County Board of Supervisors meeting got intense Wednesday night.
Hanover County Board of Supervisors’ meeting got heated Wednesday night.
Published: Jul. 28, 2022 at 6:15 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 28, 2022 at 7:25 PM EDT
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HANOVER, Va. (WWBT) - Hanover County Board of Supervisors’ meeting got heated Wednesday night.

It all started when NAACP President Pat Hunter-Jordan wrote an open letter on behalf of the organization earlier this week. The letter criticized decisions made over the last couple of years that she says do not align with the school board’s mission to provide an inclusive education.

In the letter, the chapter raised concerns about several recent school board appointments, saying there’s been a lack of transparency.

“Accountability, respect, inclusiveness, is not what we feel in Hanover County,” Hunter-Jordan said.

The letter urges the Hanover County Board of Supervisors to remove school board members like Johnny Redd. Jordan claims several issues including Redd’s opposition regarding school name changes to Lee-Davis High School and Stonewall Jackson Middle Schools.

The letter also stated what they call contempt and harsh religion-based judgment to the needs of both minority and transgender students.

Redd made a comment to Richmond Times-Dispatch calling Jordan an “Angry African-American Lady” regarding the letter.

“I come here with a smile on my face, and I hope that reflects that I am not an angry Black woman, which I was called yesterday by someone that you placed on our school board,” Pat Hunter-Jordan said.

Redd’s statement only increased that conviction.

“There was no reason to tag me with that. I’ve never been disrespectful to any of you. Never disrespectful before this board, and that was what I was labeled, but we’re used to that. Any confident Black woman receives that label at least once in her lifetime,” Jordan said.

Several citizens rallied behind Jordan at Wednesday night’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

“If Mr. Redd doesn’t respect the President of the NAACP, how can I trust he will have the best interest in mind for the thousands of Black and Brown children in our school system,” Lorie Foley said.

“Many of you are supporting evil,” James Foley said.

“There is real hurt in this county. The divide gets deeper by the month. It is fueled by the idea that there are winners and losers. Why? What happened to compromise and understanding,” Kristen Stevens said.

Johnny Redd declined to comment for this story.

School Board Chairman John Axselle did respond by saying, “Comments from individual board members, aside from those expressed by the board chair, are made in their individual capacity and should not be received as representing the position of the Hanover County School Board. It appears that Mr. Redd elected to respond in his individual capacity as a board member to specific allegations and comments directed at him. With regard to the recent letter authored by the Hanover NAACP, the School Board welcomes the input that we receive from our community, both critical and complimentary.

“As always, the School Board’s primary focus is upon providing our students with a top-tier education. We collectively believe that each member takes their sworn oath seriously and works to meet the needs of all students to the best of our ability.”

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