FB racist, sexist post aftermath: Virginia Beach School Board postpones Rose Hall District seat vote

VIRGINIA BEACH — The city’s school board during an emergency meeting Wednesday decided to postpone a vote to fill the vacant Rose Hall District seat.

Members will now vote on May 28.

The emergency meeting comes after racist and inappropriate Facebook posts were circulated on social media after Michael Mullins was unanimously appointed to fill the seat Tuesday.

The aftermath: Mullins withdrew his name.

Mullins, 62, is retired as a captain after about 40 years with the Virginia Beach Fire Department. He also served as an adjunct health sciences professor at Tidewater Community College. Mullins has a bachelor’s degree in employee health and safety from National Labor College, according to the school board.

He was one of three finalists for the Rose Hall District seat, which became vacant more than a month ago after a judge ruled that Joel McDonald, who served from 2013 until this spring, vacated the position when he moved out of district.

After Mullins withdrew his application for the Rose Hall seat the school board sent out the following message:

“Mr. Michael Mullins has withdrawn his name from the selection process for the vacant Rose Hall seat on the School Board of the City of Virginia Beach. 

Social media posts that Mullins made in 2015 were disrespectful and offensive and do not align with our values as a school system.

The School Board accepts his withdrawal and plans to vote on its second-choice candidate during a special session this afternoon at 4:30.”

Instead of voting on the second candidate, however, the school board elected to go into closed session to discuss their options and ultimately decided on postponing the vote.

By law the school board has until June 4, to place the Rose Hall district seat, according to the School Board’s attorney.

RELATED STORY: Retired Virginia Beach fire captain withdraws from school board appointment after racist, sexist FB posts surfaced

The school board’s reasoning for postponing the vote was to get legal documentation of proof of residence in Rose Hall, said School Board member Carolyn Weems.

There will be public comment before the vote on May 28, said Victoria Manning, School Board member.

City Council and School Board reaction

Members from both City Council and the School Board issued statements on social media concerning the racist and inappropriate Facebook posts uncovered on Mullins’ personal account in 2015.

Mullins has subsequently deleted his Facebook page.

Here’s what various School Board and City Council members had to say:

The vetting process for each candidate for the School Board is comprised of three parts, said Natalie Allen, spokeswoman for the school system.

Each candidate must submit an application form that includes a resume, personal references and answers to questions within the application, then they must submit to public comment during which members of the public may also send feedback to the School Board about the applicant. Then they are formally interviewed by the School Board, she said.

That process may change in the future but exactly what may change was not clarified by either Allen or the School Board.

Southside Daily reached out to the Virginia Beach Fire Department for comment on Mullins and did not immediately receive a response.

The fire department, however, was able to clarify that Mullins retired from the department in 2018.

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