City NAACP, parents, call for resignation of School Board member over controversial post

Published 7:37 pm Tuesday, March 15, 2022

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Several people speaking at last week’s Suffolk School Board meeting have called for member Sherri Story’s resignation following what they call a racist post on social media.

Her Facebook post, which has since been taken down from her page, shared a city Parks and Recreation event called Black Joy in the Outdoors, which outlined a trio of events that took place in February.

Her comment to the post said, “Well!!! Can’t wait for the WHITE JOY in the Outdoors.”

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While she has defended the post and said in a text message Tuesday that she would not resign, many have criticized it as racist and have continued to call for her resignation.

“(I) have no intention of resigning from the School Board,” Story said. “I fully intend to fill out my term. I still have a few goals to try and meet.”

She added, however, that she is not running for re-election to the Chuckatuck Borough seat in November.

The city’s NAACP has also called for her resignation and has begun a petition with nearly 400 signatures.

It states: “Sherri Story currently serves as a school board member in Suffolk Virginia. She recently made racist remarks about a flyer that celebrated Black History Month. She has a history of targeting people of color in leadership positions. There are also documented claims of her targeting African American students when she was a teacher.

“We deserve better! This woman is on a board that is responsible for making decisions in a school system that is 56% Black, 6% Hispanic, and 6% Multiracial. It is obvious that their best interest is not a priority for Sherri Story. We must take action and encourage her to resign immediately!”

LaTroy Brinkley was one of the speakers at the board’s March 10 meeting at Col. Fred Cherry Middle School, a meeting Story did not attend after she said she was denied a religious exemption so she would not have to wear a mask. The board has said she refused accommodations.

“This post was disturbing,” Brinkley said. “Your ‘white joy’ consisted of my ancestors being sold, lynched, working in conditions less than normal.”

“The recommendation of the Nansemond-Suffolk branch of the NAACP is that Mrs. Sherri Story will voluntarily step down from her position or be recalled,” said  Dr. Anita Lewis, first vice president of the local NAACP branch.

Board member Tyron Riddick is president of the Nansemond-Suffolk branch of the NAACP.

The School Board had issued a statement about the post last month.

It said: “Both the Suffolk City School Board and Suffolk Public Schools are aware of the inflammatory, and insensitive Facebook post made this past weekend by Board Member Sherri D. Story.

“Mrs. Story’s post suggests a lack of cultural awareness and sensitivity and perhaps implicit bias towards the African-American culture. Approximately 68 percent of the students in Suffolk Public Schools are children of color. We understand that diversity in our division exists, and work hard to build a unified and inclusive community. Promoting divisive messages only does a disservice to us all.

“Findings from a prior hostile work environment complaint filed against Mrs. Story by the school superintendent, concluded that the overwhelming “perception [was] that Representative Story behaves in a way that appears to be biased towards African-Americans, we recommend that Representative Story participate in racial sensitivity training. She has refused to take part in any such training.

“The Suffolk City School Board condemns this social media post by Mrs. Story with its racial overtones and lack of respect for people of color.”