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No discipline for Coweta school board member who attended Trump rally in DC

Citizens called for Linda Menk’s resignation or removal from the board, after she admitted to attending the rally on Jan. 6.

NEWNAN, Ga. — Editor's note: The video above is from an earlier story on this topic.

A Coweta County School Board member will not face any disciplinary action from the board, following her self-admitted trip to D.C. for the a pro-Trump rally that ultimately turned deadly.

Citizens called for Linda Menk’s resignation or removal from the board, after she went to the rally on Jan. 6. Community members also pointed to social media posts they believe did not “not represent the values of this body, our community, or our democracy.”

During a January school board meeting, several people called for the school board to take action against Menk, who said she doesn’t feel an apology is necessary for exercising her first amendment rights and attending the rally. 

RELATED: 'I don't apologize for it' | School board member responds to calls for resignation after DC visit for Trump rally

Superintendent Evan Horton told the board he would have the school board’s attorney look into what, if anything, could be done. 

During February’s meeting, Horton revealed he and the school board’s attorney were accused of orchestrating the protest against Menk. Horton read a written statement vehemently denying those allegations he targeting any board member. 

“On Sunday, January 17, 2021, I began to receive what appeared to be automatically generated emails from citizens regarding this matter on my school system email account. Over the course of two weeks I received approximately 200 of these emails,” Horton said. 

"I want to be clear that I have not orchestrated an attack on any member of this board as these emails suggest,” he said.

Horton added because of the accusations, he consulted an outside attorney to look into whether the board of education can remove a member from office. 

“There is no procedure or provision in Georgia law which would allow a board of education to remove an individual elected by the voters from the member's position,” Horton said, reading from a statement sent to him by the outside attorney.

The superintendent added a recall or censure would be the only course of action. 

“I cannot imagine a situation in which public funds could be used to support either a recall or a court action under the circumstances,” Horton continued reading. “Even if it were determined that in the course of such a rally, some law was broken - a situation that could be considered inconsistent with the board members, both code of ethics or responsibility to constituents - the Board of Education, as the body lacks the legal authority to intervene to remove the board member."

Horton added he supports the rights of every individual, and “the matter of an individual's right to attend a political rally, and their right to free speech under the first amendment do not involve the official business of the Coweta County school system."

RELATED: FBI: Georgia man arrested, said he climbed into U.S. Capitol through broken window during riots

School Board Member Andrew Copeland asked for clarification on the censure process. The Board’s attorney, Nathan Lee said a censure is only a public statement from the board. 

“There is no penalty or any consequence whatsoever involved with the act of censure," Lee said. "Any censure would need grounds for support, it can’t be somebody exercising a constitutional right.”

Menk did not speak at the meeting, but previously told 11Alive’s Hope Ford, she witnessed and attended a “peaceful” rally and denied being involved with the Capitol Riot. 

In a written response, Menk wrote, “The violence was unwarranted and should be condemned. If the numbers I’m hearing are correct, an estimated +/- 1,000,000 people attended the rally while an estimated +/-100 people breached the Capital. Assuming those numbers are correct. 0.01% are being used to 'label' the other 99.99% of the attendees as bad actors." 

When asked if she believed the election was stolen from former President Donald Trump, Menk wrote, “Based on the testimony provided by many citizens, there’s no way to respond until a truly non-partisan investigation is performed on ALL ballots."

While less people spoke at February’s meeting than the previous, about 20 to 25 people gathered outside the meeting for a protest. They continued to call for a punishment for Menk, and stated the will return to every school board meeting for the foreseeable future. 

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