A petition of issuance of a writ of mandamus was filed in Halifax County Circuit Court on Friday by Ronnie Vaughan, chairman of the Halifax County Strengthen Our Schools Alliance.

The lawsuit is directed to Halifax County Public School superintendent Dr. Mark Lineburg.

In the suit, Vaughan alleges that Lineburg, “acting through his subordinate Jeffery Davis,” denied in part his Freedom of Information Act request.

According to court documents, Vaughan requested a contract issued by the school system to Dr. Annie Wimbish of the Leadership Solutions Group, a copy of her resume and professional certification as per the Virginia Department of Education policies.

The requests came after they had requested copies of any invoices, requisitions, receipts, payment records or orders that pertain to the public school instruction regarding The 1619 Project, Critical Race Theory, gender equity, racial or ethnic equity, racial or ethnic diversity or cultural competency as well as training or instructional materials and manuals related to those topics in August.

Also requested by Vaughan was “copies of all directives to HCPS employees pertaining to assessment methodologies to be employed in completing Standards of Learning objectives mandated by the 2021 amendments to Section 22.1-253.13.3 of the Code of Virginia.”

In a September letter to Dr. Lineburg from Vaughan, he requested Wimbish’s credentials because the school system had paid Dr. Wimbish “more than $14,000 from 2018-21.”

As stated in court documents, Dr. Annie Wimbish of Leadership Solutions Group was hired to assist in the instructional plan known as “Navigating EdEquity VA,” which has been issued by the Virginia Department of Education.

Navigating EdEquity VA “establishes our education equity priorities, advances tools and resources to support local school divisions, and affirms our commitment to dismantle any and all forms of inequity in Virginia’s public education system,” as stated on the Virginia Department of Education’s website.

“We remain steadfast in our commitment to the principles of anti-racism, cultural proficiency, resource equity, and high expectations for all students,” Navigating EdEquity VA continues saying.

According to the superintendent, Dr. Wimbish has been hired over the past four years to serve as a guest speaker in history classes at the high school, provide training in empathy, working together and seeing from different perspectives and helped develop the African American History Class at the high school.

She also serves on the school’s parents and community relations board.

The superintendent called her a professional who does great work.

HCPS director of students services Jeff Davis responded to Vaughan’s request, per a letter submitted with court documents.

In a letter, he said he would provide any requested documents, which falls under FOIA, but he said, “copies of ‘specific materials,’” may fall under 2.2-3705.6 of the Code of Virginia, Exclusions to application of chapter; proprietary records and trade secrets.

“Since Dr. Annie Wimbish is the owner and has exclusive rights of the materials that you have requested; and since Halifax County Public Schools entered into an agreement for ‘limited’ training sessions for our staff using the proprietary content; we are therefore unable to provide these documents without the expressed approval of the owner,” Davis said in his letter to Vaughan.

Davis also said in his letter to Vaughan that he did not have a copy of Wimbish’s resume or professional certifications “since neither were required as criteria to provide presentations to our school staff.”

The school system also offered to help Vaughan reach Dr. Wimbish directly.