Some Virginia School Districts Concerned About New Transgender Model Policies Draft

Some school districts are already signaling resistance to new draft model policies from the Virginia Department of Education that will repeal current model policies controlling school district transgender policy.

“We want to assure you that Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) will continue its commitment to both implement and develop gender affirming policies for all ACPS students. As a School Board and division, we are concerned with these ‘model policies’ that do not align with our mission, vision and core values to support all students and staff, in particular our core value of ensuring that we provide a welcoming environment for everyone in our school community,” Alexandria City Public Schools said in a letter to students, staff and families.

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Delegate Keam Resigns to Join Biden Administration

Delegate Mark Keam (D-Fairfax) resigned to take an unspecified role in the Biden administration, and two Democrats have already announced their candidacies for an expected special election to complete his term in the Democrat-favoring district.

“Today, Delegate Mark Keam announced that he has resigned from the General Assembly. We thank Mark for more than a decade of public service in the House of Delegates and honor the history he made as the first Asian-born immigrant and the first Korean American elected to any state-level office in Virginia,” Fairfax County Democratic Committee Chair Bryan Graham said in a Tuesday press release.

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Fairfax County School Employees Charged with Stealing More than 35,000 Laptops

According to the Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD), three men have been arrested and charged in connection with a scheme to steal and sell laptops from Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS).

A release from FCPD says Franque Minor II, 35, of Maryland and Mario Jones Jr., 21, of Woodbridge, Virginia, were arrested as part of an investigation that began in March, when FCPS notified authorities that several thousand laptops appeared to be missing.

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U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Reverse Appellate Court Decision Allowing Thomas Jefferson High School to Use Controversial Admissions Policy

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a petition that would have reversed an appellate court’s decision that is allowing Thomas Jefferson (TJ) High School for Science and Technology to continue using its controversial admissions policy for the incoming freshman class.

After the court’s Monday anouncement, Fairfax County Public Schools praised the decision in a statement.

“We continue to believe our new plan for TJ admissions is merit-based and race-blind,” Fairfax County School Board Chair Stella Pekarsky said. “We are confident that after considering the facts and the law, the appeals court will decide that our plan meets all the legal requirements and guarantees every qualified student will have the chance of being admitted to the finest public science and technology high school in the country.”

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Fairfax Schools Picks New Superintendent in Process that Frustrated Conservatives and Progressives

The Fairfax County Public School Board selected Dr. Michelle Reid to serve as the new superintendent, replacing Dr. Scott Brabrand.

“Dr. Reid is focused on academic achievement and outcomes for every student in our Fairfax community. She has previously demonstrated the highest professional standards when it comes to leading a school district and a proven track record of working to build a successful future for students,” Fairfax County School Board Chair and Sully District Representative Stella Pekarsky said in a Thursday press release.

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Miyares Files Amicus Brief with U.S. Supreme Court in Thomas Jefferson High School Case

Attorney General Jason Miyares and 15 other state attorneys general have filed an amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a federal appeals court decision allowing Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ) to use its controversial admissions process while a lawsuit goes forward.

“Right now, there are innocent Virginians unfairly treated and punished not for anything they’ve done, but because of who they are. Thomas Jefferson High School’s new admissions process is state sanctioned bigotry – it’s wrong, and it’s the exact opposite of equality. As Attorney General, I’ll never stop fighting for the equal treatment and protection of all Virginians,” Miyares said in a press release.

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Parent Opposed to ‘Race-Based’ Admissions Scores Massive Legal Victory After Being Criminally Charged

A Virginia parent won a legal victory when a Fairfax County judge dismissed four charges of libel and slander with prejudice Friday.

Harry Jackson, a former PTA president of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology who opposed changes to the school’s admissions policy, was facing libel and slander charges in the wake of claiming that a proponent of the new admissions policies exhibited “grooming behavior” on social media. The new policies, which critics have characterized as “race-based,” eliminated standardized testing requirements and were found by a federal judge to discriminate against Asian Americans.

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Appeals Court Grants Stay, Allowing Thomas Jefferson High School to Use Admissions Policy for Class of 2026

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay in the lawsuit against Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ) on Thursday, with two of the three judges on the panel concurring. The decision allows the school to use its controversial admissions policy for the class of 2026 while the case proceeds.

“I have grave doubts about the district court’s conclusions regarding both disparate impact and discriminatory purpose, as well as its decision to grant summary judgment in favor of a plaintiff that would bear the burden of proof on those issues at trial,” Judge Toby Heytens wrote in the concurring opinion.

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Virginia Office of the Attorney General Asks Appeals Court to Block Stay of Ruling Against Thomas Jefferson High School Admissions Policy

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has filed an amicus brief asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to deny a stay after a district court ruled that the admissions policy at Thomas Jefferson (TJ) High School for Science and Technology is discriminatory.

“Thomas Jefferson High School has been consistently among the top public schools in the country, and they created and maintained this achievement with a merit-based admissions process. But over the past year, Thomas Jefferson High School changed their policy to prioritize an individual’s race over merit. By doing so, Thomas Jefferson High School has discriminated against deserving students and violated the Equal Protection Clause. This is not equality,” Attorney General Jason Miyares said in a Wednesday press release.

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Federal Judge Rules Fairfax County School Officials Discriminated Against Students by Lowering Admissions Requirements

A federal judge Friday ruled that Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) officials discriminated against Asian students by lowering the bar for admission to Thomas Jefferson High School (TJHS) in a push for “diversity.”

“This is a monumental win for parents and students here in Fairfax County, but also for equal treatment in education across the country,” Erin Wilcox an attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) said in a press release. “We hope this ruling sends the message that government cannot choose who receives the opportunity to attend public schools based on race or ethnicity.”

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Virginia Mom Rips Into School Board over Hypocritical Mask Rules

A Virginia mother addressed her children’s school board Thursday night regarding the district’s mask mandate, which subverts Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order allowing parents to choose whether or not to mask their children in school.

A Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) mother, Carrie Lukas, condemned the school board for requiring children to mask up for school while “across Virginia, right now, adults are gathering in gyms, bars and clubs and laughing together maskless.”

“Yet my five kids spent all day today, eight hours, in masks in Fairfax County Public Schools,” she said. “My first grader has never been inside his school without a mask. He’s never had a chance to smile at his friends or hear his teachers’ unmuffled voice, and it is outrageous and ridiculous.”

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Senate Public Education Subcommittee Recommends Blocking Youngkin’s ‘Inherently Divisive Concepts’ Ban Introduced by Sen. Kiggans

RICHMOND, Virginia — The Senate Education and Health Public Education Subcommittee recommended killing two bills from Senator Jen Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach): SB 766 which would ban transgender girls from playing girls’ sports, and  SB 570, which would codify Governor Glenn Youngkin’s “inherently divisive concept” ban. In its Thursday afternoon meeting the subcommittee also recommended killing Senator Travis Hackworth’s (R-Tazewell) SB 20 to eliminate a requirement that school boards adopt policies for the treatment of transgender students.

Kiggans, who is running for Congress, told the subcommittee that she was carrying SB 570 on behalf of the Youngkin administration.

“I said yes to carry this bill because I heard the voices of parents that spoke in November. You know, I was one of those parents as well,” Kiggans said, noting that Youngkin frequently talked about teaching kids how to think, not what to think.

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Seven School Boards Sue Over Youngkin Mask-Optional Order; Sen. Petersen Threatens Legislative Action if Schools Don’t Find Mandate Off-Ramp

Seven school districts are suing Governor Glenn Youngkin over Executive Order Two, which requires schools to allow parents to opt children out of mask mandates. The lawsuit challenges Youngkin’s authority over school boards and his ability to override Senate Bill 1303, which requires schools to follow CDC guidelines.

“At issue is whether locally-elected school boards have the exclusive authority and responsibility conferred upon them by Article VIII, Section 7 of the Constitution of Virginia over supervision of the public schools in their respective communities, or whether an executive order can unilaterally override that constitutional authority. Also at issue is whether a governor can, through executive order, without legislative action by the Virginia General Assembly, reverse a lawfully-adopted statute,” Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) said in a Monday press release.

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Four Major School Districts Plan to Defy Youngkin Mask Mandate Ban

After inaugurated Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) banned schools from establishing mask mandates on his first day as Virginia governor, four major school districts say they won’t abide by his new rule.

Executive Order Number Two (2022) and Order of Public Health Emergency One banned the mandates. 

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As His First Cabinet Pick, Youngkin Names School Data Guru Aimee Guidera to Be Secretary of Education

Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin announced that Aimee Rogstad Guidera will serve as Secretary of Education. During the No Child Left Behind era, Guidera founded the Data Quality Campaign (DQC) which focuses on better data gathering to help improve school quality.

In his Monday press release, Youngkin said, “Aimee will be a critical partner in restoring expectations of excellence; overseeing a record education budget to invest in teachers, facilities and special education; rolling out innovation lab and charter schools; and standing for a curriculum that prepares Virginia’s children for a dynamic future and removes politics from the classroom.”

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Virginia Beach School Board Member Manning Challenges Four Books in School Library

Virginia Beach School Board Member Victoria Manning has challenged four books in the district’s libraries over sexually explicit content.

“I’ve been accused of wanting to ban books, burn books, etc.,” she told The Virginia Star in an email. “However, I am NOT asking for a ban on these books. I’m simply asking for sexually explicit and pornographic materials to not be made available to minors through our schools. If adults want to purchase these books or borrow them from the library then that is their business and their right. At the very least, parents should be made aware in advance of sexually explicit material and be required to OPT-IN for their children to be able to be provided these materials.”

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After Two-Month Review, Fairfax County Public Schools Returns ‘Lawn Boy’ and ‘Gender Queer’ to High School Libraries

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) has decided to return two controversial books to its high school library after completing a two-month review launched after a parent complained at a September school board meeting.

In a press release, Assistant Superintendent Noel Klimenko said, “I am satisfied that the books were selected according to FCPS regulations and are appropriate to include in libraries that serve high school students. Both books have value beyond their pages for students who may struggle to find relatable stories.”

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Fairfax County Schools to Survey 12-Year-Olds About Sex Lives

A shocking report says that the Fairfax County Government and Fairfax County Public Schools will team up to administer a survey asking children as young as 12 about their sex lives.

“Eighth, tenth, and 12th-grade students in Fairfax County will have the option of participating in the 2021 Fairfax County Youth Survey,” WJLA reported.

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‘Totalitarian Tyranny’: Parents Groups Slam Attorney General Garland for Turning FBI on Their Activism

Parents who protest public school policies on race, gender and COVID-19 are crying foul after Attorney General Merrick Garland promised to “discourage” and prosecute “harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence” against school boards, administrators, teachers and staff.

His “mobilization of [the] FBI against parents is consistent with the complete weaponization of the federal government against ideological opponents,” Rhode Island mother Nicole Solas, who is waging a public records battle with her school district over race-related curriculum, told Just the News.

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Fairfax County Mother Reveals Books in School Libraries Depicting Child Porn and Pedophilia

Boy sitting in a library, reading a book

A mother of a student at Fairfax County Public Schools called out the school board for indirectly making accessible to students two books featuring child pornography and pedophilia in school libraries at Thursday night’s school board meeting.

Stacy Langton opened by explaining that she watched what had happened at a Texas school board meeting after parents discovered two books accessible to their children, Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison and Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe. Langton looked for and found the books at her own child’s school, Fairfax High School, as well as other places in the county, including Robinson Secondary School where students as young as 12 could access the books.

Parents Defending Education’s VP for Strategy & Investigations Asra Q. Nomani captured Langton’s comments to the school board on video and reported the exchange on her Substack, Asra Investigates.

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Fairfax County Parent Organizes Protest Against Student Athlete COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

Some parents are protesting the Fairfax County Public Schools COVID-19 vaccine mandate for student athletes. On Tuesday afternoon, a group of a little more than 20 parents protested outside the FCPS Gatehouse Administration Center. FCPS parent Missy Pratt began organizing the protest after Braband’s announcement. Pratt said she’s focused on the vaccine mandate, but she’s also opposed to mask mandates.

“‘No vax, no mask, we push back,’ that was our chant all day long at the rally,” Pratt told The Virginia Star

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Quarantines and Virtual Days: Virginia School Officials Grapple with COVID-19 Cases Among Students

Danville Public Schools moved its middle and high school classes to virtual on Friday with about 1,100 out of the district’s total 6,900 students quarantined for COVID-19. The school is using the Labor Day weekend to do a deep-clean. Director of Curriculum and Instruction Brenda Muse said most of those cases were among middle and high school students.

“Those levels have been increasing, and so in consultation with our State Superintendent Dr. Lane and with our local health department we asked for some advice on what they felt we needed to do. And our health department said a deep cleaning would greatly assist at the secondary level,” Muse said.

Nearby Franklin County also had middle and high-school students attend classes virtually on Friday, with a plan to return in-person Tuesday.

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Fairfax Public Schools Will Require Proof of COVID-19 for High School Athletes

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) is requiring high school athletes to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination by November 8, according to a Monday letter from Superintendent Scott Braband. He said that would help keep FCPS high school students in the classroom.

“Vaccinating our students is a critical step in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and minimizing any disruption to learning. The majority of pauses to instruction for our high school students come as a result of exposure during athletic activities, which the Virginia Department of Education classifies as a high-risk activity,” he said. “These pauses impact participation in activities and in-person learning while the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) investigates and determines close contacts and next steps.”

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Open FCPS Submits 5,000 Signatures to Recall Fairfax School Board Member Elaine Tholen

Elaine Tholen for Fairfax County School Board, Dranesville

The Open FCPS Coalition submitted signatures to recall Fairfax County Public School Board Member Elaine Tholen on Monday. The petitions were launched during frustration about the school’s pandemic virtual learning policies.

“Today symbolizes the culmination of collective efforts of dozens of volunteers and thousands of parents, all to send a clear message to the Fairfax County School Board that our community must return to the business of putting the education and well-being of children first,” Open FCPS member Ian Tompkins said in a Monday press conference.

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Fairfax NAACP President Resigns from Virginia PTA After ‘Let Them Die’ Comments

Michelle Leete Resigns

After a tirade against parents who support Critical Race Theory was caught on video, Fairfax’s NAACP Vice President Michelle Leete has resigned from her position onthe  Virginia Parent Teacher Association (PTA).

“Today, the Virginia PTA executive committee requested and received the resignation of Michelle Leete, who served as Vice President of Training,” the Virginia PTA said in a statement. “While not speaking in her role within the Virginia PTA, we do not condone the choice of words used during a public event on Thursday, July 15, 2021.”

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‘Let Them Die:’ Fairfax NAACP Leader Wishes Death on Anti-CRT Parents

Michelle Leetma

Fairfax’s NAACP Vice President Michelle Leetma appeared outside a Fairfax County Public Schools board meeting Thursday night, where she wished death upon those who do not want Critical Race Theory taught in public schools. 

“So let’s meet and remain steadfast in speaking truth, tearing down double-standards, and refuting double-talk,” Leetma said. “Let’s not allow any double-downing on lies. Let’s prepare our children for a world they deserve.” 

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Open Fairfax County Public School Board Coalition Collecting Signatures to Recall Three School Board Members

Fairfax County Public School Board

A group of parents is collecting signatures to recall three members of the Fairfax County Public School Board (FCPS). FCPS has announced plans to have five-days-a-week, in-person school in the upcoming school year. But the Open FCPS Coalition is still seeking to recall Springfield District Member Laura Jane Cohen, Dranesville District Member Elaine Tholen, and At-Large Member Abrar Omeish.

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Virginia Family Foundation Sues over New Transgender Public School Guidelines

The Family Foundation is suing the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) over its Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools. The model policies took effect March 6, 2021, and school boards must adopt policies consistent with the model by the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. However, the Family Foundation says there are legal problems with the policies and that the VDOE did not properly address comments made during a legally required public comment phase.

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Coalition Sues Fairfax County Public Schools over New Admissions Plan at Magnet School

A group of about 5,000 community members including parents, students, and staff are suing the Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) Board and Superintendent Scott Braband over changes to admission procedures at magnet school Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ). The lawsuit complaint filed Wednesday argues that the changes were meant to reduce the number of Asian-American students at the school.

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Falls Church City Public Schools Plans to Have All Students Back In-Person by End of January

Falls Church City Public Schools plans to have all students back to in-person classes by the end of January, according to a notice from Superintendent Peter Noonan.

“ALL students are slated to return in the month of January,” Noonan said on Monday. “We plan to return students in phases beginning on January 5, 2021, consistent with employee capacity to clean our buildings. We will open, starting with the smallest cohort and lead up to the largest cohort.”

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Falls Church City Public Schools Plans to Have All Students Back In-Person by End of January

Falls Church City Public Schools plans to have all students back to in-person classes by the end of January, according to a notice from Superintendent Peter Noonan.

“ALL students are slated to return in the month of January,” Noonan said on Monday. “We plan to return students in phases beginning on January 5, 2021, consistent with employee capacity to clean our buildings. We will open, starting with the smallest cohort and lead up to the largest cohort.”

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Some Districts Opt for Virtual Learning Instead of Snow Days

Northern Virginia received a range of less than an inch up to eight inches of snow, according to WUSA9.

As a result, Loudoun County and Prince William County declared snow days. But Arlington Public Schools and Fairfax County said classes would still be held online. That means that for some students, snow days are another casualty of COVID-19 precautions.

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83 Percent Increase in Middle and High School Students Earning ‘F’ Grades in at Least Two Classes in Fairfax

A Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) study found an 83 percent increase in middle and high school students earning ‘F’ grades in two or more classes. The study compared Quarter One 2020-2021 results to Quarter One 2019-2020, and coincided with COVID-19 virtual learning. Last school year, six percent of the students earned ‘F’ grades in two or more classes; that increased to 11 percent in the latest results.

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Virginia Schools Backtrack on Reopening

Facing pressure from teacher’s advocacy groups, school districts across Virginia are reconsidering plans to return to in-person learning. Districts including Henrico County, Fairfax County, and Virginia Beach are canceling or postponing in-person learning options, according to reporting by NBC12 and Wavy.com. Other districts, including Chesterfield County and Loudoun County, are considering similar moves, according to ABC7 and WRIC. On Sunday, a group of Northern Virginia teachers’ associations wrote a letter citing rising COVID-19 cases and state guidance about limiting group size as a reason for postponing plans.

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Fairfax County Delays Return to Classroom for Latest Group of Students

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) is delaying the return to in-person instruction for thousands of younger students, Superintendent Scott Braband announced in a letter to parents and staff on Monday.

The largest school system in Virginia had planned to send 6,800 pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and special education students (Group 5) back to school on Tuesday, but decided to put the move on pause because the current community health metrics for coronavirus cases are exceeding the threshold to expand in-person education, according to Braband.

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Top High School in U.S. Releases New Admissions Plan Based on ‘Racial Equity’ Lottery Instead of Academic Merit

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) released a new admissions plan for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology largely based on lottery rather than academic merit. The new plan proposed by FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand omits the current standardized testing requirements.
FCPS says it will admit 100 students based on high evaluations. The high school would select the remaining 400 at random through something they call a “merit lottery.”

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Fairfax County Public Schools Paid ‘Critical Race’ and ‘Antiracism’ Theorist Ibram Kendi $20,000 for One-Hour Virtual Presentation

Virginia’s Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) paid critical race theorist Ibram X. Kendi $20,000 to give an hour-long virtual presentation. Kendi is the bestselling author of “How to Be Antiracist,” a book of circular definitions used to explain critical race theory.

The average teaching assistant earns $23,000 a year; the staff spent nearly that much for a 45-minute lecture and 15-minute Q&A. 

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