School Board chair says public trust shaken, demands proof of degree

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - It was an emotional start to a work session for the Richmond public school board meeting Monday.

"My personal business is just that it's my personal business," said board member Shonda Harris-Muhammed.

Through tears Harris-Muhammed told the board that this week she suffered an attack on her character.

"For anyone to feel that they need to dig in to my personal business, personal matters, demonstrates an act and a level of bullying," said Harris-Muhammed.

She is referring to a report CBS 6 aired last Wednesday night that highlighted inconsistencies about a doctoral degree that she claims she earned from Walden University. The university told CBS 6 multiple times that no doctorate  had been conferred or completed by Harris-Muhammed.

"It is in question if I have earned it, I have completed my work and thus the requirements that my academic advising team said I needed to complete,” said Harris-Muhammed.

After Harris-Muhammed's remarks school board chair Jeff Bourne told her that the board needed more confirmation from her.

"I believe some of the community are beginning to question our credibility,” said Bourne.

Bourne contends the questions over the degree have shaken public trust in the whole board and need to be resolved by no later than next Monday, asking Harris-Muhammed to provide proof one way or another.

"To have the title of doctor is something we're going to have to deal with and put to bed,"  he said.

Harris-Muhammed did not speak of any documentation to confirm the doctorate but she did mention several times that her position on the board was ordained by God and she plans to complete the mission he has given her.

"Under no circumstances will God allow anyone, anyone to destroy me without his permission," said Harris-Muhammed.