Please use this blog to help us remember Joshua Lee Anderson, who made the tragic and fatal decision to take his life on Wednesday, March 18, 2009. Please post any memories or thoughts you may have in the comments.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Media Coverage for FCPS School Board Election - updated 11/11/11

In the past, that is to say "pre-Josh", we did not pay much attention to School Board elections except to notice when they were imminent, evidenced by the multiple signs placed in the busy Route 7 median that runs from Tysons Corners to our home.

But now all that has changed.

The 2008 - 2009 School Board had responsibility over the disciplinary policies that treated our son far harsher than if he were caught by the police.  How can that be?   And in the end, my belief is that the expected decision of his expulsion from high school caused Josh to feel a loss so profound and overwhelming that he could not cope.  His fragile psyche sought a way out - a way that was irreversible and irrevocable.  Death.

After his tragic suicide on March 18, 2009, the School Board and Superintendent had the opportunity to assess the disciplinary policies, determine their effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) and initiate reform.  Yet nothing was done.

Then over a year later, another boy was caught and punished via the same draconian disciplinary policies.  And this poor boy also took his life.  Two death within two years.  And only because of the courageous sharing of the Stuben family, the thorough reporting by Washington Post journalist, Donna St. George, the additional media scrutiny (see blog post), pressing advocacy of FairfaxZeroToleranceReform and increasing outcry from the community, was the School Board forced to address reform in a June 9th vote.  But they did not go far enough.

So it is time for change.  Six of the twelve SB members are not seeking re-election.  Some who are should be replaced.  Josh was our youngest so we no longer have any children in this school system.  But for the thousands that entrust their children to FCPS, just as we did, I hope and pray that the November 8th elections will result in wholesale change.  And that the new group will roll up their sleeves and initiate common sense reform, ensuring that each child/teen is treated fairly, respectfully and above all, with the understanding that he/she is still a kid.

My intent is to keep this post updated with media links related to the upcoming elections.

July 18 - August 8, 2011
Vienna Patch: "Interviews with At-large School Board Candidates" on the issue of school discipline policies. "Discipline reform has become a key issue in this school board race. See how the candidates stack up."

August 10, 2011
McLean Connection: "At-large School Board Race: One to Watch" by Victoria Ross.  "Debates over discipline, boundaries, budgets, standardized tests and sleep have generated Fairfax County’s most closely watched and contested School Board race in the board’s 19-year history."

August 14, 2011
Washington Post: "Fairfax County School Board Races Could Overshadow Other Campaigns This Year" by Frederick Kunkle.  "Stuban is one of several political newcomers whose entry into the normally sleepy School Board elections has transformed them into this year’s marquee event in Fairfax politics in November, potentially overshadowing the races for the more powerful Board of Supervisors, which governs the county of more than 1 million residents."

September 23, 2011
Washington Post: "Fairfax School Board Races: Change vs Continuity" by Emma Brown

October 23, 2011
Washington Post: "Character of Fairfax School Board Rests On This Fall's At-Large Races" by Emma Brown

October 30, 2011
Washington Post: "Fairfax County School Board Candidates" by Emma Brown

November 4, 2011
Channel 9 News: "Fairfax County School Board Elections on Nov. 8" - interviews with candidates.

November 8, 2011
Washington Post: "Fairfax County School Board Control On Line But May See Little Change" by Emma Brown

November 9, 2011
Washington Examiner: "Election Pumps New Blood into Fairfax School Board" by Aubrey Whelan

November 10, 2011
Washington Post: "Even in Defeat, Fairfax School Board Candidates May Force Change" by Emma Brown.

1 comment:

Shirley said...

Thank you.
From personal experience, we know how children have been treated in FCPS. Our teen was removed from her IBET classes with an involuntary transfer to online classes while she was an honor student at TJHSST. She received a letter on a Saturday for a change on a Monday - without any teacher or room assignments. Even teachers did not have a clue and encouraged her to stay. However, it was not her choice, but a heartless administrative decision.

I'm sorry what happened to Josh and I admire your courage to protect other families.

Remembering Josh