A group of concerned parents, led by Chelle Brown, raised concerns in March about explicit sexual content found in books in Georgia’s Cherokee County Schools District (CCSD). Brown was tried to be silenced by a member of the school board. Patsy Jordan said that Brown was reading from a book in a CCSD library and it was inappropriate for children to hear. Brown’s speech was virtualized. The truth is that we are just now learning about the fate of another mother who was present at the March meeting.
Brenda Danielle Reprieto entered the March CCSD meeting as the mother of a student and substitute teacher in the district. Within days of making a brief out-of-order comment while CCSD Board Chairwoman Kyla Cromer spoke, Reprieto was fired from her teaching position and barred from all school district property.
While Cromer was defending keeping the explicit content in the library, Reprieto stated to the audience, “You should be arrested.” In response, Cromer threatened, “You could be removed.” In the chairwoman’s two and half minute speech, the exchange lasts approximately 10 seconds, beginning at 1:53 in the video:
Cromer continues speaking, while Clark Menard (second in line from the left), gestures and points out to the audience. Reprieto and Chelle brown, who was sitting next to Reprieto at the time, said that the board member was pointing toward officers and motioning toward them. Three officers approached Reprieto after a while.
Brown claims that Reprieto was told by the officers that Reprieto should leave. She claimed she was entitled to be there, and asked them if the discussion at the meeting was clear. They said that it wasn’t their job. She tried to talk with them and claim she was entitled to be there. Brown encouraged Reprieto, as the conversation continued, to join the officers.
Reprieto walked out of the vestibule and asked officers where she could park to wait for other guests. If she didn’t leave the property, she could face criminal trespass charges. They also said that she had broken the board’s rules.
Menard gave a lecture to parents about disrupting meetings after Reprieto had left. He warned that “we will not allow you to continue to disrupt and create scenes,” Menard asked Menard how exchanges such as the one on sexualized content were beneficial for students. It is quite amazing.
The next day, Reprieto was teaching at Cherokee High School. She was removed from her assigned classroom, told all of her future assignments were canceled, and she found out she was locked out of the system used to claim days. A few days later she received a warning letter via certified mail banning her from all CCSD property. This included her daughter’s school and future board meetings. Reprieto also votes at a CCSD school as her assigned precinct. The letter reads:
You are being notified that you will not be allowed to enter the Cherokee County School District Board of Education Properties property. This is in compliance with Georgia Codes 16-7-21 (b)(3) and 20-21-21180. Cherokee County Schools System owns the property and/or premises. An authorized representative/agent from Cherokee County School System is giving you this notice.
If you are found on the property/premises in the future without permission written by the owner, you could be arrested for criminal trespass and any other applicable offenses.
There is no hearing in court or appeals process, as with typical Georgia restraining orders. Through the school board, the school police force assigned from the city police can ban a mother or taxpayer from any school district property.
David Oles, Reprieto’s lawyer, described it as revenge. He said that it was “naked retaliation” for Brenda’s assertion that school librarians could have pornographic content without restrictions on children.
Barbara Jacoby, chief communications officer at CCSD, replied to my request for comment from Board Chairwoman Cromer. Jacoby said:
After refusing to heed the orders of CCSD school officers to stop disrupting the meeting, a woman was escorted out of March 17, 2022, School Board Meeting. She didn’t speak during public participation, she shouted at the audience and disrupted the meeting.
Police officers were present with the woman for over 10 minutes after she repeatedly disrupted the meeting. She continued to be disruptive and refused to heed their commands. The woman continued to argue with officers in the lobby as well as in the parking lot. She continued to argue with police officers in the lobby and also in the parking lot.
The response of district personnel to questions about the board they are supposed to supervise is akin to the State Department press secretary answering questions from members of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.
The meeting’s full video is not available online. I inquired if the district would provide a video to support Jacoby’s claims and the account of the events in the minutes. Jacoby stated that the cost to produce the video to support her claims was $55, which is not included in the evidence on the attendee videos.
Reprieto’s interaction while in the audience with the police is only three minutes long, while the meeting continued uninterrupted. Reprieto wasn’t the only one who added color commentary to Brown’s speech before the board. She was the only officer to approach her that evening, and she was also the one who was barred from future meetings.
Jacoby stated that Reprieto was employed at her will and that she could not continue to substitute teach because of the criminal trespass. She said, “She [Reprieto] was given permission to attend any events at her child’s school that are open for parents.”