“I have read and acknowledge the attached Rules of Conduct and recognize my parental responsibility to assist the school in disciplining my child and maintaining order, and acknowledge that failure to do so could result in court action against my child and me.”
It also provided for a $50 fine if parents didn’t sign it.
The governing Code of Virginia, signed into law by Governor George Allen (R) in May 1995, also stated that parents could be fined up to $500 if they failed to participate in programs that improve a student’s behavior.
Needless to say, there was a hue and cry over these violations of rights. The Rutherford Institute, a civil rights advocacy group based in Charlottesville, VA, filed a suit in federal court, stating that discipline is a parental matter. The ACLU was prepared to file a lawsuit based on free-speech grounds. By the end of 1995, William Hurd, then-Virginia deputy attorney general, told superintendents that the most a school can do is ask parents to sign that they had received the rules. The ACLU also got the state to make sure the following statement is in all the codes of conduct:
“By signing the statement of receipt, parents or guardians shall not be deemed to waive, but too expressly reserve, their rights protected by the constitution or laws of the United States or the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the parent or guardian shall have the right to express disagreement with a school’s or school division’s policies or decisions.”
But since then, Fairfax County’s Student Responsibilities and Rights document has grown from a six-pager to a 40+-page treatise littered with innumerable Code of Virginia citations. It is nearly impossible to read, and certainly one has not “received” the entire document when you'd also have to get the education code along with it.
More important, the policies and procedures written down by Fairfax County have no connection to the way these policies are actually carried out, child by child.
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