Fairfax County School Board member heard using slur against mentally challenged during meeting

A member of Fairfax County’s School Board apologized after a hot mic picked up her use of a slur against people with mental disabilities during Thursday’s meeting.

At-large member Karen Keys-Gamarra can be heard saying “We cannot be this r———-” while other board members were discussing how to let a guest speaker proceed, according to social media clips of the interaction.

“[During Thursday’s] Fairfax County School Board meeting, I said something that I deeply regret,” Ms. Keys-Gamarra said Friday in a  statement. “While I did not intend an offensive word to refer to any particular person or the parent community, I did insult my fellow school board members, and in turn, offended members of the community.”

“I deeply apologize for my words because that’s not what is in my heart. I have reached out to my colleagues on the board to ask for their forgiveness, too. I can only hope that the community will reflect on my entire body of work and find a way to forgive my lapse at that moment,” she added.

Fellow board member Rachna Sizemore Heisner told WUSA that Ms. Keys-Gamarra had used the slur in conversation with her before.

“I told her it was highly inappropriate and offensive and asked her not to use it,” Ms. Sizemore Heisner told the station.

The Fairfax County School Board released a statement Friday night apologizing for Ms. Keys-Gamarra’s language. The statement also said the board will meet with Ms. Keys-Gamarra to discuss the incident in more detail.

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