Cobb Board of Education member Kathleen Angelucci has publicly accused one of her colleagues of unethical behavior and has asked for him to be censured.
At the end of the board's long business meeting Thursday night, Angelucci claimed that David Banks "compromised school board ethics" by seeking to obtain information about a political opponent through employees.
Banks is in a difficult re-election battle in the July 31 Republican primary for the Post 5 seat, which includes the and high school districts of East Cobb.
Angelucci, who represents Northeast Cobb's Post 4 (, Sprayberry and high schools), said Banks "attempted to influence the election" by admitting in his own e-mail newsletter than he visited schools attended by the child of one of his GOP rivals to learn more about her involvement.
Neither Angelucci nor Banks identified the opponent. But Lisa Hanson, who is running against Banks and who has a daughter attending Lassiter, accused him in The Marietta Daily Journal on Thursday of "invading her privacy" and using his access to school administrators as an incumbent board member "for political gain."
Also running in the Post 5 Republican race is Stephanie Henry, a parent in the Pope district. There is no Democratic candidate.
School board attorney Clem Doyle said that a formal request for a hearing on a censure matter would require the approval of two-thirds of the board, or at least five of its seven members.
Board chairman Scott Sweeney, who represents East Cobb's Post 6 ( and districts) said after the meeting that a censure vote "has no legal bearing" and would not constitute removal from office, but rather is a "recognition by the board" of activity that violates ethical standards.
"I cannot individually censure anyone," Sweeney said. "The board would have to do it."
Angelucci delivered sharply worded prepared remarks in her broadside against Banks during the board comment period.
"As a candidate, he willfully contacted Post 5 school employees about his opponent," she said. "He continues to insult and besmirch the reputation of other board members."
Other activity by Banks that she cited included various occasions in which he visited schools unannounced and attended staff meetings, which contradict board policies.
Angelucci declined to provide a copy of her statement, saying she preferred to address the matter in depth at an Aug. 8 board work session.
Banks lashed out after Angelucci's allegations, saying they were a "bunch of garbage," and accused her of politicking for Hanson during the board meeting.
"You can campaign for my opponent, but don't do it here!" Banks said.
The controversy began earlier this month when Hanson by the Cobb County Association of Educators. In his July 7 e-newsletter, dubbed "David's Grapevine," Banks wrote that he wanted "to determine the validity" of the CCAE's claim that it was backing Hanson because of her school activity.
"I personally contacted the schools where their children had either attended or were presently attending and in no instance could I validate or substantiate participation in school activities or organizations by either of my opponents," Banks wrote.
That's what set off Hanson, and a copy of Bank's e-newsletter was circulated to board members.
Cobb school superintendent Michael Hinojosa said that Banks admitted that he contacted an unidentified school principal and "said he asked about a parent, a candidate." But Hinojosa indicated there was "no evidence of distribution of any student records."
Sweeney reminded his colleagues that "no school board member is going to go to a school uninvited," aside from scheduled public gatherings such as sporting events.
"If we are talking about a staff meeting, no. If people are doing that, it's a violation of ethics that we agreed to. We can't stand for any of it. We've got a lot more important things to talk about."