Richland 2 school board members butt heads over criminal charges and ethics fines

Richland 2 school board members butt heads over criminal charges and ethics fines

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - At Tuesday night’s Richland School District 2 board meeting, we saw board members grouped together for the first time since Dr. Monica Elkins-Johnson was arrested for public disorderly conduct after an altercation following the previous board meeting.

She’s accused of being aggressive towards board chair Amelia McKie’s husband, senator Mia McLeod, and McLeod’s sister.

This is all coming at the heels of the on-going story that Amelia McKie owes $51,750 in SC ethics fines for failing to file expense reports on time.

“It’s at least appropriate for her to step aside from the chair’s position,” Gus Philpott said regarding McKie after he spoke out as a community member at the meeting.

Some members of the public are demanding everything from full resignation to the removal of leadership positions for board chair Amelia McKie and vice chair Dr. Monica Elkins-Johnson.

“The ‘no tolerance’ policy is for the students, and I think it should be for the adults who are on our board as well,” community member Martha Eubanks said after referencing the altercation video featuring Dr. Elkins-Johnson.

And changes could have been on the way.

A new policy was on the table Tuesday night that would have allowed board members to vote each other out of leadership positions on the school board. After only gaining support from Lindsay Agostini, James Manning, and Dr. Elkins-Johnson the policy was thrown out 4-3.

“It’s almost like a mob mentality,” said Dr. Cheryl Caution-Parker. “Someone did something so we’re going to pounce. I think if we’re going to do this policy, we need to have a stipulation as to when it goes into effect. It cannot be retroactive.”

Board member Lindsay Agostini read an email she received from a parent in the district about Amelia McKie’s fines.

“How can I reasonably expect that our chair-woman is capable of managing a half million dollars when she cannot manage a simple ethics filing,” she read.

McKie responded saying, “We get emails, we get phone calls, we get texts. I would never display that about any of my board members. I would never display that level of unprofessionalism.”

We spoke with representatives from the SC Ethics Commission today, and they told us McKie’s $51,750 in fines has not been reduced. Neither McKie nor Dr. Elkins-Johnson has mentioned resigning or stepping down from their leadership roles.

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