School board member censured for creating leak document.

In a special meeting that lasted over four hours, the Columbus City Schools Board of Education unanimously voted to censure member Brandon Simmons, following the controversy surrounding a leaked document he created. The document, titled “Taking Control of the Task Force Narrative,” outlined strategies to create division between the Columbus Education Association and the Columbus School Employees Association. The document was leaked by board member Sarah Ingles, days prior to the meeting.

The strategies outlined in the document included delaying the sharing of negative news with the public and rewarding favorable media outlets. After the meeting, Simmons expressed his regret for the document and admitted that he and other board members, including Board President Christina Vera and Superintendent Dr. Angela Chapman, had discussed the document during three meetings.

In response, Simmons has stated that he will obtain legal counsel and comply with requests for public records. Board President Vera has threatened to file a lawsuit if Simmons fails to fulfill these requests by the end of Thursday’s business hours.

Vera, along with other board members, distanced themselves from the creation of the document, stating that Simmons was the sole author. Vera expressed her disappointment in Simmons’ handling of the situation and his creation of the document. Simmons was removed from all community assignments, including the community engagement and advocacy and equitable and transparent resource management committees.

Simmons acknowledged his actions and admitted that his frustration had clouded his judgment. He agreed with the censure, stating that it was an appropriate disciplinary action. The censure will remain in effect for the rest of the 2024 calendar year and will be revisited in 2025.