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Friday, March 4, 2011

Mason Town Hall Meeting will address student discipline

The public is invited to share their thoughts about student discipline issues and how the community can help troubled teens at a Town Hall Meeting convened by Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross and Mason District School Board member Sandy Evans. The session will take place Saturday, March 19, 1-3 p.m., at Falls Church High School.

Student discipline has become a hot-button issue in Fairfax County recently following the suicide of a popular high school student who had been expelled from Woodson High School for having a legal, but controlled substance. The school board has agreed to review FCPS discipline policies.

“As I talk with people about this, I hear the pain, frustration, and fear that many are feeling,” says Evans. “We need to help our students find the right balance. We also need to find the right balance in making sure that how we handle adolescents’ mistakes is both fair and effective.”

“This is a concern of the entire community, to make sure we help our troubled teenagers while keeping our schools and neighborhoods safe,” Gross adds. “The county and school system should work together to help our at-risk teens.”

Among those expected at the Town Hall: at-large school board member Tina Hone, who led the board’s efforts to review the discipline policy; Supervisor Cathy Hudgins of Hunter Mill, who joined with Gross in co-sponsoring an initiative calling for the school system to review its policies and work with the county to assist troubled students and their families; and Del. Kaye Kory (38th District), who sponsored a parental notification bill in the Virginia General Assembly. It failed to pass.

The school board will convene a series of workshops this spring to explore such issues as how suspended students receive support, the effectiveness of student reassignments to other schools, and when and how parents should be notified when their child is in serious trouble.

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