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Purdy scolds administration, resigns from Manassas School Board

Ellen Purdy resigned from the Manassas City School Board six months before the end of her term.

Purdy made the surprise announcement a week ago during School Board member comment time during the Board’s regular public meeting.

“We didn’t expect that,” said Manassas School Board Chairman Tim Demeria.

Purdy did not respond to Potomac Local for a request for comment on this story. She read a prepared statement when she announced her resignation, effective July 1.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I have bene a leader and public servant in my day job for over a quarter century. I find the culture of leadership integrity and ethics promulgated by the superintendent and Board do not rise to the level that I have been accustomed to,” Purdy read in her statement.

She went on to state the school division should stop “minimizing problems and issues.”

“Many of you have contacted me about for four years now.

She also criticized administration and Board members for about recent exchanges with parents, students, and city residents.

“Controlling the message needs to stop,” stated Purdy.

The resignation comes after a 13-year-old student in March told the Board during a meeting broadcast live on community and later on YouTube, she was attacked while at the school. Several students and parents also spoke and claimed to have seen video of the attack that had circulated online.

A schools spokeswoman disputed some of the students claims. The student no longer attends Metz, said Demeria.

Demeria could offer no explanation for Purdy’s sudden resignation. The School Board member of 10 years said the problems faced by the city’s schools are not unlike other school systems across Virginia.

Poverty, students who receive free or reduced lunches, and fights inside schools are all challenges the school division is faced with.

“I think we confront our problems head on and that’s why we don’t’ have so many problems,” said Demeria.

As for the March incident at Metz, Demeria said the School Board does not “run to the press” when a fight happens inside a school building.

“This was a pretty severe fight… some people would call it an assault,” said Demeria.

He went on to call the fight an isolated incident.

“Purdy has been a member of the School Board since July 2012. During her tenure, she has served on the Board’s Policy, Educational Support, and Personnel committees, as well as the CTE (Career and Technical Education) Advisory Board,” according to a statement from Manassas City Public Schools.

“Purdy’s resignation now means that there is an opening to serve the remainder of her term. The Board will have 45 days from the date of Purdy’s departure to fill the vacancy with a provisional appointment. The appointee will serve until December 31, 2016 after a general election is held for one of four open seats on the Board. Further information for City of Manassas residents interested in being considered for the appointment will be announced following the May 24, 2016 School Board meeting.”

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