Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Superintendent Jack D. Dale has proposed a number of recommendations to change the school systemâ€™s disciplinary process.
â€œWe have been listening carefully to the conversations and suggestions being shared by parents and members of the community,â€ said Dale. â€œThese recommendations incorporate many of the suggestions and changes we have heard. We look forward to continuing discussion around these revisions with the School Board in April and May.â€
The recommendations come amid controversy over what some see as a “zero tolerance” policy. They follow the suicide earlier this year of W.T. Woodson student Nick Stuban who was involved in a disciplinary procedure.
In 2009, South Lakes High School student Josh Anderson took his own life just before he was to face a disciplinary hearing.
The recommendations proposed by Dale would:
- Refine the guidelines on parental notification for potential suspensions and expulsions and help parents prepare for the hearing process.
- Enhance communication related to the Student Responsibilities and Rights (SR&R) handbook with a goal of improving understanding by parents and students.
- Audio record all hearings.
- Shorten the timeline between disciplinary incidents and the disposition of the decision.
- Provide instructional support during the suspension and provide an intervention education program, if appropriate to the offense.
- Authorize school principals to act as the superintendentâ€™s designee for the purpose of conducting a preliminary review in individual cases at their schools where a student is found to be in possession of his or her own prescription medication.
- Develop a data collection-process analysis to include academic success, recidivism, and on-time graduation.
- Create an exit survey for parents to complete at the end of disciplinary hearings.
- Review and reinforce the training program for School Board members and staff members to achieve consistent implementation of the disciplinary process.
- Continue the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports program in all schools.
The School Board is to meet at 9 a.m. on April 4 at Gatehouse Administration Center.