WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Debate Over FCPS Discipline Policy Heats Up

Play associated audio

Two teen suicides in Fairfax -- one in January, and another in March of 2009 -- have become the focal points of a dispute about the county's discipline policy. Both teens had to switch schools following disciplinary action for violations of school policies.

The key question: Did Fairfax's discipline policy play any role in the tragedies? Jon Farrell, a Fairfax parent and member of Fairfax Zero Tolerance Reform, says the families of the teens have the answer.

"Both sets of parents say the discipline process was a contributing factor," Farrell says.

Supervisor Catherine Hudgins has introduced a resolution urging the school district to review its zero-tolerance policy. She says her goal was never to place blame. Hudgins says she knows students come to schools with preexisting problems.

"But we are asked to work with them, and to work through those issues, and I just would not want to miss an opportunity to make it better," she says.

But Superintendent Jack Dale says Hudgins demonstrates a serious misunderstanding of district policy. He also says drawing a connection between the suicides and school discipline is just wrong.

"There's just zero connection between those two," Dale says. "We individualize discipline the same way you do at home with your own kids...two kids may have the same infraction, but you treat them differently because they're your own kids."

Furthermore, Dale says, state law requires that for certain serious infractions, students must be recommended for expulsion, or transferred to different schools out of their home districts.

Farrell's son was a friend of Josh Anderson, a South Lakes student who took his life before a discipline hearing in 2009. He says the school district needs to study what happens to students as they go through discipline hearings and afterward.

"Are they graduating, are they falling through cracks?" Farrell asks. "Why don't we want to know these numbers, Mr. Dale?"

This post was updated at 12:55 p.m.

NPR

The King Of Zydeco, The Supremes, Merle Haggard Among Recordings Joining Library Of Congress

Each year the Library of Congress adds certain sound recordings as national treasures. Curator of Recorded Sound Matthew Barton explains the cultural significance of this year's selections.
NPR

'Sweetbitter' Is A Savory Saga Of Restaurant Life And Love

Oysters, cocaine, fine wine, love triangles: Stephanie Danler's debut novel Sweetbitter follows a year in the life of a young woman working at a top-tier Manhattan restaurant.
NPR

Trump Rolls Into Washington For Biker Rally

The presumptive Republican nominee for president addressed Rolling Thunder, the annual gathering of motorcyclists, on Sunday. The group seeks to raise awareness of veterans' issues.
NPR

After Breast Cancer Diagnosis, She Channeled Her Ups And Downs Into Texts

NPR's Scott Simon talks with Natalie Sun about her project, textingwithcancer.com. The website won a Webby award, and documents her pessimism and optimism while undergoing chemotherapy.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.