Woodford County school board considers code of conduct, one member’s Facebook sparks protest

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WOODFORD COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – Woodford County Public Schools says it’s considering a code of conduct for school board members after one member’s personal Facebook posts sparked a protest.

The board member’s defense? Freedom of speech.

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Monday, students and parents protested outside the school board meeting calling for Woodford County School Board member Allison Richardson to understand the gravity of her social media posts.

“And those comments are incredibly offensive to the different racial groups that make up our community,” Cierra Spaulding said.

Spaulding is the protest organizer and a parent who accuses Richardson of posting racially insensitive comments on Facebook including reacting to a post about supporting Black businesses by saying we should support all businesses and ‘what “expletive” world am I raising my kids in?’

“I feel like she has taken that microphone that we all have access to and she’s used it to cause harm to people in our community and especially our kids and that’s just not okay,” Spaulding said.

Spaulding offically calling for Richardson’s resignation in an online petition saying as a board member Richardson needs to be held to a higher standard.

Kentucky’s NAACP backed the petition.

Protesting students also agreed with Spaulding.

“You’re somebody on our board so we should feel safe, respected, under you and that we don’t, it’s just an issue,” Kiana Jackson-Banks, a student, said.

The school board’s lawyer says Richardson is protected by the First Amendment.

While Richardson hasn’t responded directly to the racially charged comments. She did speak at the board meeting about her social media in general.

“If people are offended by my colorful language on my personal Facebook I accept that. That’s who I am. I was the same person when my constituents elected me. I have not changed since that day,” Richardson said in the meeting.

Richardson did not resign Monday night.

Another recent Facebook post says she’s looking for a lawyer to deal with slander and defamation.

Students still saying it’s not over.

“I’d also like to send a message to Allison that this behavior will no longer be tolerated,” Devan Champion, a student, said.

Woodford County Board agreed to meet about a possible code of conduct in January.

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Monica Harkins joined the ABC 36 News team in June 2019 as a Multimedia journalist and Anchor/Producer. She’s born and raised in Austin, Texas and headed “North,” as she calls it, to study broadcast journalism and business at the University of Missouri. While at Mizzou she anchored and reported for KOMU 8 News, an NBC affiliate in Columbia, Missouri all four years. During her childhood she played almost every sport, but they always called her “Hollywood” for her love of theatre. In high school, she realized her excitement for theatre and performing was only a small piece of the puzzle. It’s story telling that’s her passion. She’s especially passionate about social media and creative platforms to tell stories. Her most recent experiment is being a FAA certified drone pilot. As a proud Texan she says she’s made of country music, Southern hospitality and Sweet Tea. When she’s not at work you can find her trying new recipes, listening to crime podcasts, reading the latest romance novel or rockin’ out to live music with friends. She says she’s only a tweet or Facebook message away, so say hi and send her the latest on your community. @MonicaHarkinstv or Mharkins@wtvq.com