HAMPTON, Va. – The Virginia State Unit of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) filed a lawsuit August 28 against Hampton City Schools for the release of information related to a request to rename several schools.
The SCLC and the Hampton NAACP have been making requests to Hampton City Schools to rename Jefferson Davis Middle School and the Campus at Lee for over a year.
Jefferson Davis Middle School is named after Jefferson Davis and the Campus at Lee is named after Robert E. Lee, both Confederate leaders during the Civil War.
After the events in Charlottesville on August 12, SCLC Vice President Andrew Shannon submitted Freedom of Information Act requests on August 17 and August 18 to Hampton City Schools for certain public records.
The lawsuit alleges that Hampton City Schools did not comply with the FOIA requests and have subjected Shannon to “utter hate, hostility, and animosity by some of the individuals, who were opponents against the renaming of HCS, who also appeared to carry vials of vitriol by making comments to Shannon such as “we don’t like your kind, go back to where you come from,” as they voiced their opposition to the re-naming of Hampton City Public Schools, during the HCS Public Hearings and Hampton City Public Schools Board Meetings.”
A spokesperson for Hampton City Schools tells News 3 the school board received the FOIA request on August 21 and responded within five business days. They were unaware of the lawsuit until it was filed.
The school board’s next meeting is September 6 and they may discuss the lawsuit.
According to the SCLC, the Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council has sided with Andrew Shannon for FOIA disputes against the City of Newport News in 2003; 2004 and 2017.