New office, task force created to improve inclusiveness at Henrico Schools

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A flurry of emails offer new insight into how the Henrico County School Board strategized to respond to fallout from a controversial school locker room video.

In that video, football players at Short Pump Middle School simulate sex acts on their black teammates.

8News obtained dozens of emails exchanged between school board members hours after that sexually and racially charged video went public.

Board member Micky Ogburn, whose district includes Short Pump Middle School, was anxious to send out a public statement admonishing what happened.

In an email, she wrote, “I am getting slammed for staying quiet.”

Several board members also expressed concern over Principal Thomas McAuley’s drafted message to send to his student’s parents.

Board member Lisa Marshall wrote, “It is my opinion that the principal’s draft response is not strong enough in expressing that this behavior will not be tolerated.”

Ogburn agreed, writing, “If we do not take a strong stance that we will not tolerate these sorts of behaviors, then we look weak in the eyes of the community. … I feel strongly that the team should have to forfeit their last game…tolerance lesson should begin ASAP.”

8News has also learned that in light of the controversial video, Henrico Schools is creating an office of Equity and Diversity and an Equity and Diversity task force.

Mobile users click here to read the string of emails

That is ultimately what happened. The team forfeited the rest of its season and used practice time to learn about tolerance.

The school board is now looking at ways to teach all of its students to be more accepting of one another.

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