Charlottesville School Board meets in emergency meeting this morning; Classes at CHS will remain closed until after Thanksgiving break

The Charlottesville School Board met on Saturday morning in a closed session one day after classes were canceled at the city’s only high school.

“As part of our discussions, we agreed to cancel classes at Charlottesville High School on Monday and Tuesday, November 20-21 to allow administrators and staff to continue planning for a ‘reset’ of school, policies, procedures, and culture,” reads an email signed by Chair James Bryant that was sent out at 12:45 p.m. today.

The purpose of the reset is to take steps to ensure that students are in a “safe learning environment” following a series of altercations this year. On Monday, the administration will name interim leadership for CHS following the resignation of Rashaad Pitt on November 9.

All other schools will remain open, and teachers and staff at CHS are expected to report for a pair of teacher workdays.

“The goals for the two teacher workdays will be to allow for further review and improvements of safety protocols, better understanding of the expectations and disciplinary procedures within CCS’s Student Rights and Responsibilities, increased clarity around the division’s accountability expectations, and continued attention to staff wellbeing,” the email continues.

The Student Rights and Responsibilities document used to be referred to the Student Code of Conduct. (review the document here)

The two-day closure had been requested by the Charlottesville Educational Association who issued a statement on Friday.

“While the Charlottesville Education Association did not help plan any of today’s actions, CEA stands in support of the staff of Charlottesville High School,” wrote CEA President Shannon Gillikin.

The letter called for a “hard reset” on Monday and Tuesday with no students present “to address the climate and the culture at CHS.”

At the School Board meeting, members expressed confidence for Superintendent Royal Gurley. Bryant said the Board is also exploring several options.

“The Board will be working with school and division staff to collaborate on strategies to strengthen safety and security protocols, including attention to security at doors (including side doors) and seriously exploring weapons detectors,” Bryan continued. The latter was discussed at the October 19, 2023 School Board work session.

The message states that there has been at least one incident of an “unauthorized adult” on the CHS campus.

“We will take legal action to emphasize our dedication to maintaining a secure environment at CHS and other buildings of Charlottesville City Schools,” the message continues.

There will be further information about meals for students on Monday and Tuesday.

The closed meeting is not yet listed on the school systems’ meeting notice page.

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement as well as Patreon supporters. This edition was written first for this website first and another version might appear in a future edition of the newsletter and podcast.

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