2012 Election

Virginia School Board's Herb DeGroft Refuses to Resign After Sending Racist Emails About Michelle Obama

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After circulating racist emails about Michelle Obama, a Virginia school board member is attempting to ignore calls for him to resign.

The string of emails — dating back to January 2012 — were sent by Herb DeGroft, a member of a school board in southeastern Virginia’s Isle of Wight County. The school board voted Thursday 4 to 1 to officially request that DeGroft resign. (The nay vote, of course, was from the offender himself.)

One of the troubling and incredibly racist emails shows shirtless African female warriors, captioned, “Michelle Obama’s high school reunion.” Another email from DeGroft suggested that Michelle Obama had been paid $50 to appear in National Geographic.

The incident has already resulted in the resignation of Isle of Wight Division Superintendent Katrise Perera, who was involved with racist remarks and the emails. Another school board official, the Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Byron Bailey, apparently thought the emails were humorous and so forwarded them on, which has now jeopardized his job as well.

Bailey, however, is attempting to skirt responsibility by claiming the emails did not originate from him, and so should not be punished for them, all the while disregarding any responsibility to professionalism or civility that someone of his position should possess.

"The emails that they're talking about are some that I just sent along from somebody else," Bailey said to the Daily Press. "None of them I initiated, if you look at them. They were all initiated by somebody else."

Meanwhile, DeGroft refused to resign, but has apologized for his actions, explaining "there was no intention or motivation...to be inappropriate...discriminatory against anyone," according to WAVY.

The NAACP chapter in Isle of Wight, as well as other members of the community, are now threatening to recall both DeGroft and Bailey if they continue to refuse to resign. 

Sources: Huffington Post, Daily Press