In a vote of 5 FOR and 7 AGAINST – parental notification FAILED to pass at Thursday night’s Fairfax County School Board meeting.
Blame Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. School Board member Janie Strauss did.
In an effort to give herself some air cover for her NO vote, Strauss cited Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia saying, “Justice Scalia is careful to look at the words in the law.”
That’s fine. However, the School Board doesn’t pass laws. It passes policies. So, it’s interesting that a liberal Democrat like Janie Strauss would cite a conservative Supreme Court Justice as justification for her NO vote on a “policy.”
Strauss said she was “troubled” by the wording in the parental notification amendment and said she wouldn’t support it. She said she didn’t like that the amendment said parents should be notified “prior to questioning.”
Of course, if Strauss was so troubled by the amendment’s language, she could have made a motion to offer alternative wording in the amendment. But she didn’t. Instead, she stood in solidarity with Superintendent Dale and his staff and voted NO – against the wishes of parents and students.
That’s right. Janie Strauss –School Board member running for re-election in McLean, Great Falls and Herndon – voted against the parents she claims to represent. She voted NO on parental notification.
As a result, FCPS officials don’t have to call you before your child is questioned about a discipline violation or pressured to sign a confession. In fact, you may not know your child has been interrogated until hours after the questioning has taken place and after your child may have already signed a confession – without any counsel from you.
But Strauss doesn’t want voters to blame her for failure of the parental notification amendment. Oh no, no. Point the finger at how Justice Scalia reads legal text instead.
Let’s be clear. Janie Strauss should be held accountable for her NO vote on parental notification. Election Day – November 8th is your chance to end her too-long career on the School Board.
At-Large member Ilyrong Moon should also share some of the blame for the amendment’s failure because he sponsored it. You’d think he would have taken the time to be sure the issue was crystal clear for his colleagues to ensure passage of this critical amendment. Unlike Strauss, Moon did not blame Justice Scalia – but he did blame FCPS staff. Unbelievably, Moon had FCPS staff write the amendment for him.
Isn’t that a bit like letting the fox guard the hen house?
Dale and FCPS staff absolutely do not want parental notification. So why did Moon have FCPS staff craft the amendment when he should have done it himself. Can’t he write his own amendments? He’s a lawyer for Pete’s sake. What a waste of an At-Large School Board position. It’s just another reason why Moon doesn’t deserve re-election either.
We need School Board members who are going to seriously advocate for the parents and students they claim to represent. Janie Strauss and Ilyrong Moon don’t. Show them the exit door this November.
School Board members who voted NO on parental notification:
Janie Strauss – Dranesville District (*running for re-election)
Kathy Smith – Sully District (*running for re-election)
Liz Bradsher – Springfield District (not seeking re-election)
Jim Raney, At-Large (not seeking re-election)
Brad Center, Lee District (not seeking re-election)
Stu Gibson, Hunter Mill District (not seeking re-election)
Tessie Wilson, Braddock District (not seeking re-election)
Fairfax Scales Back Discipline Policy (The Washington Post, June 10, 2011)
School Board Votes to Make Discipline Process More Flexible, Supportive (The Patch, June 10, 2011)
Parents & Community Rally Before School Board Decision (The Patch, June 9, 2011)
Disciplinary Policy Changes Coming to Fairfax County Schools (WUSA-Channel 9, June 9, 2011)
Fairfax School Board Takes Up Zero-Tolerance Policy Reform (WJLA-Channel 7, June 9, 2011)