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Fairfax Superintendent Outlines Proposed Discipline Changes

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Superintendent of Fairfax County Schools Jack Dale.
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Superintendent of Fairfax County Schools Jack Dale.

One of Superintendent Jack Dale's recommendations would allow principals to deal with more discipline cases in school, rather than referring matters to hearing officers.

Dale says that's in response to the rising number of first-time offenses involving possession of personal prescription drugs. Dale says parents have complained that punishments have been too harsh. He says he agrees.

"More and more kids are on prescriptions, and more and more kids bring prescription drugs, so I think this is an evolution that's happened over the last several years," he says.

John Farrell, is with the parent group Fairfax Zero Tolerance Reform, which came together after the suicides of two students involved in Fairfax's discipline process.

He says he's pleased with some of Dale's proposals, particularly keeping audio recordings of discipline hearings.

"Getting a tape recording hopefully will reduce the amount of antagonistic attitude and behavior in the hearing room," Farrell says, "so that's progress, we can't ignore that."

Farrell says it's unclear whether Dale's proposals will reduce the number of students involuntarily transferred within the district, or if parents will be notified more quickly of disciplinary interrogations.

The school board will discuss the proposals starting Monday.

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