Knox County Board of Education dismisses ethics complaints against members

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knox County School Board on Wednesday voted to dismiss ethics complaints filed against three board members, including one against board chairwoman Kristi Kristy.

By a vote of 7 to 1 with two abstentions, the board voted to dismiss the ethics complaints filed against Kristy, Susan Horn and Betsy Henderson.

Complaints from parents of Knox County Schools students came in light of board members who spoke at the county commission meeting and urged the county to hire outside legal counsel to fight a lawsuit that led to a federal judge issuing an injunction requiring all Knox County students to wear masks.

Among the concerns raised in the ethics complaints was whether the three board members acted outside of their authority and whether they violated Tennessee’s open meeting law.

One of the parents who filed the complaint, Gina Moody, pointed to a Facebook group post on February 15 announcing that the three council members would be at the meeting and seeking to hire outside counsel as a violation of TOMA, or Sunshine Law.

Moody says this “prior knowledge” of the meeting is an ethics violation.

Amanda Collins, president and parent of KCS Parent Advocates for School Safety, agreed with Moody, adding: “You have an anti-mask Facebook group that knew enough about the event in advance to send about 30 supporters at the meeting, while everyone – including the other board members – were caught by
surprise.”

The grounds for the motion to dismiss were the tense political status in the community surrounding masking and the fact that the procedures surrounding complaints need to be reviewed.