The Virginia Senate voted to remove a Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin appointed member of the State Board of Education on Tuesday after she noted that the Declaration of Independence and Constitution do not “enshrine slavery.”
In July, Youngkin appointed Suparna Dutta, the co-founder of the Coalition for TJ (Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology), a group fighting against race-based admissions policies in schools, to the Virginia Board of Education, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Virginia Democratic Sen. Ghazala Hashmi introduced an amendment to remove Dutta, which passed along party lines on Tuesday. (RELATED: Virginia To Require Schools To Alert Parents Of ‘Sexually Explicit Content’ In The Classroom)
“This particular board member indicated that racism was not a factor in American history, that the Constitution of the United States did not have any indications of racism or slavery within the document,” Hashmi said at the Tuesday Senate meeting. “We know that that is not correct. American history, of course, has the concerns of slavery all throughout, and the Constitution of the United States has laws in there that protected and held slavery in the country until it was abolished.”
Board of Education member Anne Holton, former Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s secretary of education, said the Constitution and Declaration of Independence can not be referred to as “remarkable documents” without noting that they are “fundamental in enshrining slavery,” the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. Dutta defended the documents on Feb. 1, saying they do not “enshrine slavery”
“I do not believe the Declaration [of Independence] and the Constitution enshrines slavery, nor did they limit protections to white property [owning] men,” Dutta said, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “Maybe you meant to describe the Constitution, but it didn’t mention race or slavery.”
🔥 WATCH @TimKaine’s wife @AnneHolton claim the Constitution is NOT “remarkable” + then defend socialism. @VDOE_News board member Suparna Dutta, a Hindu woman of color, challenges her. Now a #wokearmy of @virginiadems and Holton trolls campaign to kill Suparna from the board 🧵 pic.twitter.com/kyEVeCS5s4
— Asra Nomani (@AsraNomani) February 7, 2023
“I am proud to be an education advocate,” Dutta told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “As an immigrant, I believe that education opens doors for you like nothing else: that supporting and challenging all kids with academic rigor and excellence is very important. I was honored to be appointed by Governor Youngkin to the Virginia Board of Education, and I think I succeeded in challenging the status quo on the board. It is disappointing, however, that slander and blatant lies won the day.”
The Senate also rejected Steven Buck, a Youngkin appointee to the parole board and Colin Greene, Youngkin’s appointee for health commissioner at their Tuesday meeting.
“They voted to remove Suparna Dutta, shockingly claiming that a public school parent isn’t qualified to serve on the Board of Education,” Youngkin said in a statement to the DCNF. “She is a mother and advocate for parents’ rights, she is an immigrant and an advocate for Asian American rights, she is an engineer and advocate for STEM in education. She is not only qualified, she epitomizes parental involvement in our schools and we need her voice on our Board of Education.”
Hashmi did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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