The Fairfax County School Board unanimously appointed 40 members Thursday to a newly-created committee tasked with reviewing the system's student rights and responsibilities handbook, putting the body in place to begin its work by the end of October.
The Ad Hoc Community Committee on Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R), created by the board Sept. 20, includes representatives appointed by the county's three major teachers unions, high school and middle school principal associations, as well as the county's associations for school social workers and psychologists.
It also includes Bob Bermingham, Director of the county's Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court, Hearings Officer JD Anderson, and two students.
Among the committee's 24 residents: Sheree-Brown Kaplan, a member of Coalition of the Silence (COTS) and a former school board candidate; Caroline Hemenway, whose advocacy group Fairfax Zero Tolerance Reform formed around changing the system's discipline policies; and Steve Stuban, whose son's suicide became a lightning rod for the first round of disciplinary reforms last year.
Deputy Superintendent Rich Moniuszko and Assistant Superintendent for Special Services Kim Dockery will serve as advisors and facilitators for the group.
Full membership is listed at the bottom of this article.
The committee's first meeting is at 5 p.m. Oct. 24, school board chair Ilryong Moon (At-large) said. A location has not yet been determined.
School board members Ted Velkoff (At-large) and Janie Strauss (Dranesville) said they appreciated how the board came together to pick a diverse pool of representatives after board members spent several meetings falling on opposite sides of debates on how many community members should be appointed, who should lead the committee and what kind of message its membership would send to the greater Fairfax County community about both the board and the issue, which has polarized residents in the past few years.
Each board member selected two representatives from their district, while at-large members were free to select two residents from any area of the county.
Board member Sandy Evans (Mason) said she looked forward to group's findings, particularly on parental notification, a sticking point for the board and community through several other rounds of system changes, and support for students who have been suspended.
Megan McLaughlin (Braddock) said she hoped the committee will make a real effort to look toward surrounding jurisdictions — specifically, Arlington and Montgomery Counties and the Maryland Board of Education — "that have made tremendous strides in looking at discipline reform."
"I think they have a lot to share," she said, noting those groups would help raise the level of understanding about national juvenile justice reform.
McLaughlin said she was disappointed FZTR member Michele Menapace would not sit on the committee, calling her "one of the most knowledgeable in this county on our discipline reform efforts."
Evans said the appointment of members was not the "end of this group" — the committee is also tasked with reaching out to others in the community to make sure "people that have something to contribute will have an opportunity to contribute their expertise as well," she said.
School Board Members
Name of nominees
Name of nominees
Tammy Derenak Kaufax
Dr. Rita Giles
Sheree Brown Kaplan
Dr. Margaret Fisher
Name of nominees
Fairfax Association of Elementary School Principals
Cherry Run ES
Middle School Principals Association
Fairfax County High School Principals Association
Fairfax Association of School Psychologists
Fairfax Association of School Social Workers
Elementary School Counselors
Colvin Run ES
Middle School Directors of Student Services Association
High School Directors of Student Services Association
Fairfax Education Association
Fairfax County Federation of Teachers
Association of Fairfax Professional Educators
Fairfax City School Board
Former Fairfax City SB member
Fairfax County Government
Director, Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court
Student Advisory Council (2 students)
Advisors and facilitators
Dr. Rich Moniuszko
Dr. Kim Dockery
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