April 2011: FCPS Conference Addresses Prevention April 2 2011.TheUnified Prevention Coalitionof FCPS conference "Life in the Middle," What students and Parents Face in the Middle years addresses bullying, substance use, and effective youth/parent communication.
March 20011: FZTR Focused on Costs of Suspension at Board of Supervisors Budget Hearings March 29-32, 2011. Other hot education topics included school transfers for teacher pay, full-day kindergarten,
later high school start times for healthy teens, and discipline reform
-- and NO transfers until the budget is cleaned up. FZTR advocated for
county support of wraparound services for kids on suspension and
detailed the financial cost to society when kids are suspended. Read our testimony. March 2011: Fairfax Schools Consider Recording Student Disciplinary Hearings. See Washington Post Article March 28, 2011 by Donna St. George. Consider
that even with recorded hearings, an overhaul is needed for numerous
remaining issues. Until these changes are verifiably in practice, FZTR
is watching -- and ready to keep helping FCPS do better. March 2011: Kojo in Your Community Took On Discipline and aired its live taped town hall meeting on March 23, 2011 at 1:06 pm (WAMU 88.5). The show filled the McLean Community Center with
citizens relaying stories of injustices and panelists disagreeing on
the law and the facts. SB member Tina Hone (at large) and attorney
William Reichhardt sparred with SB memberJanie Strauss (Dranesville) and
Superintendent Jack Dale over the seriousness and scope of the
discipline problems. Out in the hall, Fox 5 news interviewed Dale, Hone, Hemenway, and Stuban. The news show aired at 10 pm Mach 23.April 2011: FCPS Conference Addresses Prevention April 2 2011. The Unified Prevention Coalition
of FCPS conference "Life in the Middle," What students and Parents Face
in the Middle years addresses bullying, substance use, and effective
youth/parent communication. March 2011: School Board Candidate (At Large) Greg Brandon Campaign Kick-off Drew Local Luminaries March 27. Among the 50+ supporters were VA
Del. Kaye Kory, Frank Wolf 2010 challenger Jeff Barnett, Dranseville
Supervisor John Foust and school Board member Jane Strauss, SB member
Sandy Evans (Mason), Fairfax County Federation of Teachers president
Steve Greenberg, Fairfax Education Coalition chair and Braddock SB
candidate Megan McLaughlin, FZTR director Caroline Hemenway, and several
other SB candidates and representatives of the Fairfax County
Democratic Party. Brandon's campaign is focused on improving the
classroom experience for teachers and students, raising minority
student achievement, improving
teacher benefits to help retain and recruit the best, and working to
change SOL-based testing to empower teachers, students, administrators.
He supports discipline reform, better nutrition in schools, and starting
high schools later for healthier and more alert kids.
March 2011: Town Hall Meeting on
Discipline Drew 50. School board member
Sandy Evans and Supervisor Penny Gross held a town hall meeting at Falls Church
High School March 19, 2011 to hear concerns about and solutions to discipline
issues in Fairfax. School Board member Tina Hone (At-Large) and Del.
Kaye Kory (D-38) spoke. County services and state law were addressed. All
four are seeking review of the process. Participants told heartrending stories
of being captured in the jaws of zero tolerance. Superintendent for
communications Barbara Hunter was confronted by one outraged participant on the
impersonal way FCPS staff address very personal family situations. Eileen
Murdoch, a Mt. Vernon HS grad whose Loudoun Co. case is being heard by the VA
Supreme Court, emphatically stated, "This is a community in crisis!"
and urged action NOW. A representative from CrisisLink said they hear from
hundreds of students a year who call in crisis between midnight and 3 am. A
Fairfax Partnership for Youth representative said it coordinates support and
mentoring, but on a very limited budget. Similar meetings may be scheduled and
we'll post them here.
March 2011: ACLU of Florida, Advancement Project, and FL
NAACP Release Report on Harmful Florida ZT Policies. The March 7, 2011 report is titled
"Still Haven't Shut Off the School-to-Prison Pipeline: Evaluating the Impact
of Florda's New Zero-Tolerance Law." It shows that, even with forward
movement on amending harsh ZT laws, meaningful reform has not reached most
schools, and the law needs teeth.
March 2011: SB Work Session on Student Discipline March 14 Resulted in "List;"
Room Packed with ZTR Supporters.Our supporters SHOWED UP on March 14 and witnessed all the board members
and staff discuss and identify some 75 issues to be explored. There can be no
doubt there is a serious need for review and reform, given the discussion. SB
member Stu Gibson (Hunter MIll) stated that hearings need to be
adversarial at times to get students to confess. For an excellent School Board
Work session summary, go to RedAppleMom.com, and
click on theblog to the right. Catherine Lorenze's
website is an excellent resource for parent advocates. She is communications
director of the Fairfax Education Coalition and is helping several reform
candidates with their campaigns. We want the school board to take
immediate action on eight "stop-gap" changes (see Mission and Goals page to
left). Please write the board and demand these.
March 2011: FOIA Case Heard March 2:FCPS and school board members testified in
Fairfax Circuit Court March 2, 2011 to defend charges of violating the Freedom
of Information Act (FOIA) and open meeting laws. (Case Number CL-2011-0002345).
FZTR Task forces are working on various aspects of reform now. See our blog for updates. We are
benchmarking best practices, identifying ways to improve the current FCPS
disciplinary process, providing outreach to families, working with national
organizations and other school districts, and compiling data and research to
Discussion forum and blog:Please begin using the discussion forum at the top of this page. It's
new and there may be glitches but we want this to be a place people can discuss
reform and how to get it done. Let us know what you think. The blog is up and running on a separate page
Mission:Transform the Fairfax County Public School
discipline system from a criminal and punitive approach to a restorative,
educational, and therapeutic process by working with families, FCPS,
county staff, civil rights and child development specialists, and legal