March 10, 2021

This past weekend, School Board Chair Michelle F. “Micky” Ogburn apologized on her personal Facebook page for inadvertently sharing an offensive Facebook post. Today (March 10), at the conclusion of a special meeting of the School Board, the Board took action on two items that will take place at a later date(s):

 

  1. In order to better engage and hear from constituents during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board had already begun to plan for a ‘listening town hall’. Today the Board agreed that a future event would center around the topics of equity and diversity. This would further the Board’s opportunities to continue ongoing work in meeting the Board’s and community’s goals. The “listening town hall” will take place in the coming weeks, likely prior to Spring Break (date to be determined).
  2. For the full Board to participate in cultural sensitivity and implicit bias training (date to be determined).

Mrs. Ogburn and fellow School Board members also issued these additional public statements:

Apology from Micky Ogburn:

“I am grateful for the opportunity to publicly apologize to our community for my actions in a social media post. If I had read the offensive poem in its entirety, I would have never reposted because this does not represent what I believe in. As soon as I read the entire offensive post, I immediately deleted it.

“I know that this mistake has caused others pain and opened wounds that I can only imagine. I cannot begin to describe the depth of my regret for the pain that I have caused to others. When we make mistakes, we must own up to them and learn from them.

“I am listening and learning, and I promise you, that will not stop.”

Statement from all five members of the Henrico County School Board:

“There are times when apologies are enough. There are also times when actions are required to help bridge gaps caused by mistakes. As a Board this moment has sparked an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment and deepen conversations opposing all forms of discrimination. Together, we will face profound challenges in equity, diversity and inclusion by listening, responding and advancing bold ideas to promote positive change.

“Racially insensitive acts, whether intentional or unintentional, hurt. Therefore, additional required cultural sensitivity and implicit bias training for the Board will be implemented to heal, educate and work toward overcoming the damaging effects of this incident. Equity, diversity and inclusion have been and continue to be priorities for the School Board and all Henrico County Schools.

“James Baldwin said, ‘Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.’”

Michelle F. “Micky” Ogburn (Chair, Three Chopt District)

Marcie F. Shea (Vice Chair, Tuckahoe District)

Kristi B. Kinsella (Brookland District)

Roscoe D. Cooper III (Fairfield District)

Alicia S. Atkins (Varina District)