School Board Member Diyonne McGraw’s ability to vote causes tensions to rise after judge denies emergency injunction

Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 12:31 AM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -The debate surrounding Alachua County School Board Member Diyonne McGraw caused tensions to run high at Tuesday’s school board meeting. This was the first time the public and board members were face to face after a lawsuit was filed and Alachua County Circuit Judge Donna Keim denied an emergency injunction. With McGraw able to cast her vote, certain items passed or failed with her vote as the tiebreaker.

“The judge decided that an injunction would not be appropriate at this time. Therefore Ms. McGraw will be participating as a member of this board during this meeting,” said Chairwoman of the school board, Dr. Leanette McNealy.

RELATED STORY: Court rules that ACPS school board member Diyonne McGraw can keep voting

The ruling denying an emergency injunction that would have temporarily stopped McGraw from voting brought out supporters of the board member and those concerned that District 2 does not have representation. Jeff Childers, the attorney representing former District 2 Candidate Khanh-Lien Banko and others, believes the ruling included arguments supporting removing McGraw.

“The court also found that it would serve the public interest if Ms. McGraw didn’t do any more voting,” explained Childers.

Letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis by Dylan Lyons on Scribd

He said the judge outlined specific local and state codes being violated due to McGraw’s failure to reside in the district she represents.

RELATED STORY: Attorneys go head to head in first hearing in lawsuit against Diyonne McGraw

McGraw’s attorney Richard Keith Alan II, was present at the school board meeting. Before making any final decisions on how he will proceed on behalf of McGraw, he would like to know the legal position of Gov. Ron DeSantis on this matter.

“I would just respectfully request that the board refrain from making any final determinations about legal issues until we have had an opportunity to raise each of the affirmative defenses.”

One supporter of McGraw believes the judge made the right decision on the emergency injunction.

“I’m just appalled that someone would try and take away a fair election where the whole county voted for her,” said Jackie Davis.

RELATED STORY: Formal injunction requested against Alachua County School Board member Diyonne McGraw

However, others are concerned because McGraw’s address does not fall within the district lines. She represents the parents, and students living in that area do not have true representation as the board continues voting.

“She is representing the wrong district. Therefore she cannot represent the district that she does not live in,” explained Tiffany Burdette, the parent of an Alachua County Public Schools student.

RELATED STORY: Cease and desist sent to Alachua County School Board demanding McGraw’s votes not be counted

TV20 has obtained the letter sent from Childers to Gov. DeSantis requesting that he take action on this issue. An emergency meeting has been called by the Newberry City Commission for Thursday at 7 p.m. over concerns raised by the controversy surrounding McGraw.

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