Red Apple Mom

June 7, 2011

Student Interrogations & Discipline Review: Your Child Needs You Thursday

As parents, we want to help our children – particularly when they are vulnerable and in need of guidance.

The discipline reform debate going on in Fairfax County Public Schools has revealed just how few rights our children have if they are ever accused of a serious school infraction.

This Thursday, June 9th, School Board members will vote on changes to the Student Rights and Responsibilities Policy – including the controversial parental notification component.

Picture school authorities interrogating your child – and pressuring him or her to sign a confession or statement of guilt – without you present in the room.

Don’t like that idea?  Then take some action.  Your chance is now.

These following School Board members are either undecided or opposed to notifying you before your child is questioned about a serious school infraction.

Jane Strauss -Dranesville District
Kathy Smith – Sully District
Liz Bradsher – Springfield District
Stu Gibson – Hunter Mill District
Tessie Wilson – Braddock District
Jim Raney – At Large

Email these members now and ask them to vote in support of parental notification.  The parent group Fairfax Zero Tolerance Reform (FZTR)  is asking parents to specifically request the following points:

1.  Parental notification for infractions that could result in suspension of more than three days or a recommendation for expulsion.

2.  No  signed student statements of confession without a parent or guardian present.

3.  Advising students that they have the right to remain silent and they have the right to seek counsel.

We would all like to believe our children will never face serious disciplinary action in public school.  But the fact is, you can never really know.  Put yourself in the shoes of your child.  Ask yourself if you could handle an interrogation without an advocate by your side.

Does that idea trouble you?

Then show your kids you really care and participate in FZTR’s sponsored rally BEFORE Thursday night’s School Board meeting on June 9th at 6:30pm.  Location – Luther Jackson Middle School in Falls Church on Gallows Road at Route 50.  Meet in the parking lot.  Wear RED and bring appropriate signs that call for PARENTAL NOTIFICATION.

Many of the School Board members are running for re-election this year.  Your participation in this rally could help apply the pressure needed for these critical reforms.    Please get involved and advocate for your child now while you still can.

The School Board is expected to vote on discipline policy changes about 7:45pm.  If you cannot attend in person, the meeting will be televised on Cable Channel 21 and web-streamed live at http://www.fcps.edu.

For more information, visit the Fairfax Zero Tolerance Reform website at:  www.FairfaxZeroToleranceReform.org.

Here are the email addresses for all the School Board members:
Kathy Smith – Chair – Kathy.L.Smith@fcps.edu
Brad Center – Vice Chair – Brad.Center@fcps.edu
Elizabeth Bradsher – Springfield – elizabeth.bradsher@fcps.edu
Sandra Evans  – Mason – sandy.evans@fcps.edu
Stuart Gibson – Hunter Mill – stuart.gibson@fcps.edu
Martina Hone – Member at large – Martina.Hone@fcps.edu
Ilryong Moon – Member at large – ilryong.moon@fcps.edu
James Raney – Member at large – james.raney@fcps.edu
Patricia Reed – Providence – patty.reed@fcps.edu
Daniel Storck – Mt Vernon – daniel.storck@fcps.edu
Jane Strauss – Dranesville – jane.strauss@fcps.edu
Judith Wilson – Braddock – Tessie.Wilson@fcps.edu

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February 19, 2011

Attorney for Fairfax County Public Schools Refuses Service of Subpoenas

This just in:

Sources close to Washington, DC law firm Patton Boggs told me this astounding news today:  The attorney for Fairfax County Public Schools refused service of the subpoenas issued to the FCPS School Board and top FCPS School officials.

If you read my post yesterday, you know the subpoenas were issued to FCPS over alleged violations of the Open Meetings Law and alleged violations of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

This same source also told me that Pam Goddard, Executive Assistant and Clerk to the FCPS School Board accepted her subpoena, but refused to accept the subpoenas for the School Board.  I find her refusal to accept the subpoenas interesting considering that she is the “Clerk to the School Board”   That means she’s the official caretaker of all official records pertaining to the School Board.  So it’s quite surprising she refused these documents from the Court.  Does this mean Court officials will have to go to School Board members’ homes and work places to serve them their subpoenas in person?  Would FCPS attorneys really permit that embarrassment to take place?

As a taxpayer, I’m quite stunned at the FCPS attorney’s refusal to accept the subpoenas.  Do some of our School Board officials and FCPS administrative personnel think they are above the law and don’t have to accept court documents when served?  Don’t we taxpayers and supporters of our public schools deserve better leadership from these officials?

These events mean Thursday’s trial date has been scrapped and the trial is now set for 10am on March 2nd.

Stay tuned for more details on this developing and changing story.

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