School Board Shuts Down Discussion of Maloney’s Arrest

One week after Loudoun County School Board member Joy Maloney was arrested at a Donald Trump campaign rally, three of her colleagues wanted to discuss possibly censuring her at tonight’s board meeting, but they were out-voted.

Maloney was arrested at the rally, held at Briar Woods High School on Aug. 2, for allegedly refusing to leave after having her ticket revoked, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office. She was released on a $1,000 unsecured bond, and faces a class 1 misdemeanor charge for trespassing.

Jill Turgeon (Blue Ridge) introduced a motion at tonight’s board meeting to request that the board discuss censuring—strongly expressing disapproval—Maloney for her actions. “I think it would behoove the board and the community to address this and move on,” Turgeon said.

She was joined in support of the discussion by Eric DeKenipp (Catoctin), who co-wrote the proposed resolution, and Jeff Morse (Dulles), who said he would support a discussion of the matter.

Chairman Eric Hornberger (Ashburn), Brenda Sheridan (Sterling) and Tom Marshall (Leesburg) opposed any discussion of the incident, saying that it was not School Board business. Beth Huck (At Large) and Maloney also opposed the motion. Debbie Rose (Algonkian) was absent from the meeting.

DeKenipp argued that the matter is of concern to the board. “When a School Board member willfully refuses to follow police orders on school property in front of thousands, and as a result was literally dragged to a police car, that is a concern of the board,” he said. “I was elected on a platform of accountability, and tonight I’m here to hold one of my own to account.”

Ahead of the vote, Maloney thanked those who have expressed support both publicly and privately to her following her arrest. Then she attempted to explain what had happened: “First and foremost, I absolutely made no attempt to block anyone’s entrance into the rally,” she said.

Hornberger stopped her and said she would have to save those comments for the discussion, if there were enough votes to hold one.

“Fine,” Maloney said.

Turgeon and Hornberger debated for several minutes whether the board needed a majority vote in order to have a discussion brought up as part of new business. The matter was finally settled when division counsel Stephen DeVita was called to weigh in. DeVita agreed with Hornberger, that board policy requires a majority vote for such a discussion to be held as part of new business agenda. But a board member can request to place the matter on the agenda seven days in advance of a future meeting.

Turgeon said she’d prefer to talk about it now and move on. “But if the board wants to drag this on to September then so be it. Consider this the notification that I want this on the September 13 agenda.”

After the meeting, Turgeon shared the comments she’d hoped to read from the dais with Loudoun Now. She wrote that she would never discourage any of her colleagues from engaging in political or advocacy activities.

“I firmly believe this is the backbone of our country and should not be denied to anyone,” she continued. “The proposed resolution to censure is a result of my concerns over an elected official refusing to adhere to the direct requests of a law enforcement officer. … With Ms. Maloney’s arrest being so public, with several emails to the board expressing disapproval, as well as staff members who have expressed (to me personally) disappointment in her behavior, I did not feel that it would be prudent for us to ignore and dismiss the severity of her actions.”

Maloney is scheduled to appear in Loudoun County District Court on Sept. 14. If convicted, she could face up to 12 months in jail and a fine up to $2,500.

dnadler@loudounnow.com
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