MARTINSBURG, W.VA. – A citizen has asked the Berkeley County Council to remove every member of the Berkeley County Board of Education from office.
Kerry Linger made the request at Thursday’s Council meeting and emailed a petition to the body.
The request comes in the wake of criticism over the school system’s handling of allegations that some school employees verbally abused a special needs student at Berkeley Heights Elementary School last fall.
“I actually have been researching West Virginia state code,” Linger told MetroNews affiliates WEPM and WCST. “I initially emailed the council in February and I think they misunderstood some of my email because I did, in fact ask for them to remove the board members as well. They took no action.”
On Friday, Berkeley County Councilmember Elaine Mauck was a guest on Panhandle Live heard on WEPM and WCST.
“It has to be thoroughly researched even to see how that particular law works. There’s a lot of verifications that have to be looked at to make a good decision and we as a council have not met to discuss that.”
The child’s mother, Amber Pack, has filed a civil suit that names the Berkeley County School Board and other individuals. Last week, the Berkeley BOE filed a lawsuit against Pack and other parents. The board later reversed their decision by voluntarily dropping the suit.
“That led me to say enough’s enough,” said Linger. “I’m drawing a line in the sand and I’m going to present them with an official petition. Not just for me, several people’s opinions that the board members need to be removed.”
All of this is unfolding while the Berkeley BOE is searching for a full time superintendent. Former Putnam County Schools Superintendent Chuck Hatfield is now serving as interim.
As of Friday, Linger said the online petition had around 1,700 signatures.
“My goal is to actually get on the official agenda for the Council, and have them take an official vote as to whether or not they will pursue removing the Board of Education members. Because that will let the citizens of this community know where this community actually stands.”
Marsha Chwalik contributed to this report.