STAFFORD, Va. — The Stafford County School Board is accepting applications for Garrisonville District School Board member folloiwng the resignation of Nanette Kidby.
From Stafford County Public Schools:
The Stafford County School Board is accepting applications from November 1 to 30 to fill the Garrisonville District School Board seat. Interested citizens must meet the following requirements to be eligible for appointment as the Garrisonville District School Board Member:
- Registered voter and resident of the Garrisonville District at the time of the appointment;
- Persons listed in Virginia Code Section 22.1-30 are not eligible for interim appointment (e.g., county officer, deputy officer, employee of the school board, listed relative of board member)
Qualified candidates will submit the following documents as part of the application package:
- Letter of Interest
- Certificate of Candidate Qualification.
A link to these forms is listed on the SCPS website at http://www.staffordschools.net/Page/20636 under the School Board tab. Roberta Euring, clerk of the School Board also has applications for candidates.
Completed packages must be submitted to the clerk of the School Board, via email to email@example.com, via fax to 540-658-6635, via mail to 31 Stafford Avenue, Stafford VA 22554 or hand delivered to the Alvin York Bandy Administrative Complex, 31 Stafford Avenue, Stafford, VA 22554. All packages are due by 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 30, 2016. Incomplete packets or applications received after this deadline will not be considered by the School Board.
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — If at first you try and don’t succeed, try again.
That’s what the Prince William County Public Schools will do with the apparent selection of a site for a new high school in western Prince William County.
Final discussions are underway to secure the site for the 13th high school in Prince William County. School officials will share the preliminary school plan and its proposed location, address community concerns, and receive feedback at a public meeting on November 9 from 7-9 p.m. in the auditorium of Stonewall Jackson High School. The school is located at 8820 Rixlew Lane, Manassas.
The proposed site is on Linton Hall Road at Rollins Ford Road. The high school will relieve significant overcrowding at Patriot, Battlefield, and Stonewall Jackson High Schools.
For more information on the proposed 13th high school, visit https://facilitiesservices.pwcs.edu, or contact Maureen Hannan, Supervisor of Land Acquisition and CIP Planning, at 703.791.7313.
Last December, developers withdrew an application for Stone Haven — a 719-acre development that would have been located off Wellington Road, that would have brought a mix homes and businesses and an 80-acre school site on which to build a new high school.
Before the Stone Haven developers withdrawing their plans, Brentsville District Supervisor Jeanine Lawson proposed using land that is to be used to build Rollins Ford Park for a 13th high school, instead. That land is located on 69 acres at the intersection of Rollins Ford and Linton Hall roads.
The new high school will relieve overcrowding at Patriot and Stonewall Jackson high schools.
Lawson was one of the officials that did not support building a new high school on proffered land at the Stone Haven development. She argued that a school built at Stone Haven would open at capacity, with students from new homes in the development, and do little to ease overcrowding at nearby schools.
STAFFORD, Va. — Teachers and staff at Stafford County Public Schools will gather on Saturday for a costumed 5K walk and run.
From Stafford schools:
Stafford County Public Schools (SCPS) hosts a 5K Fun Run/Walk to benefit Stafford Education Foundation (SEF) on Saturday, October 29 at 8:00 a.m. Nearly 150 SCPS employees registered to participate in this event.
In support of the division’s All Century Skills, participants will compete in a C5W costume contest.
Winners are selected based on their costume’s representation of the following skills: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, citizenship, and wellness. Costume contest judges include Superintendent Dr. Bruce Benson, School Board Chair Holly Hazard, and SEF President Cathy Yablonski.
The event will be held at Colonial Forge High School, located at 550 Courthouse Road in Stafford.
The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office tells us it has been briefed about the 5K event but will not be needed to provide traffic control or direction during the event.
Civics students at Beville Middle School, nearly 360 in all, will get a real sense of our democracy when they head to “voting booths” in their school next Thursday, November 3. The eighth-graders are studying a unit on the Executive Branch, including the Electoral College, political parties, the role of media in elections, and citizenship in a democracy. The League of Women Voters is helping to run the mock election. Students will vote using paper ballots which will resemble the actual Virginia ballot.
The mock election will be held from 8:15 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 12 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — A new wooded trail located behind the newest high school in Prince William County will be used to teach students about science.
The Discovery Trail is located at Charles Colgan High School, located at 13833 Dumfries Rd at Independent Hill. The trail sits on buffer land owned by the Prince William County Sanitary Landfill, which is located next to the high school.
Here’s more from Deborah K. Campbell, landfill spokeswoman:
The Prince William County Solid Waste Division’s Solid Waste Citizens Advisory Group wanted to somehow incorporate the landfill and landfill buffer into an educational opportunity for the new high school and schools adjacent to buffer area. This desire was shared with school system personnel and ultimately the idea for Outdoor Discovery Trail was blazed by the Advisory Group.
The building of the trail and classrooms was a partnership between the Prince William County Solid Waste Division, Prince William County Schools and SPARK Foundation, Prince William County Parks Department, Boy Scout Troop 1195 and Dominion Power.
The trails will be used a part of the science curriculum for students from the neighboring schools and will also be available to other Prince William County School students and community groups with appropriate permission.
· Solid Waste Division provided the land, mapped the trail and assisted with the trail and classroom development
· Prince William County Schools and SPARK Foundation mapped the trail, coordinated the classroom development, curriculum and equipment development, garnered Boy Scouts and Dominion Power’s assistance
· Prince William County Parks finalize the trail, cleared the trail, maintains the trail
· Boy Scout Troop 1195- Three scouts working on Eagle projects designed and managed the building of the classrooms, including acquiring materials
· Dominion Power provided and installed educational signs, kiosks and storage sheds for equipment
— Active PrinceWilliam (@Active_PW) October 24, 2016
WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Hundreds of choral students from middle and high schools across the county are practicing for the upcoming All-County Chorus event on October 28 and 29 in the auditorium of Freedom High School. The event will challenge the singers as they rehearse new music with guest conductors.
The Middle School Men’s Choir will perform at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 28. Performances will continue on Saturday, October 29 at 2 p.m. with the High School Treble Choir, followed by the Senior Mixed Choir. The Middle School Women’s Choir will perform at 4:30 p.m. All performances are free and open to the public.
The All-County Chorus represents the best of the PWCS choral music programs. At the middle school level, chorus teachers audition their own students and select top vocalists to represent their schools. High school students participate in a Divisionwide audition process just weeks after the school year begins.
This year’s conductors bring a wealth of choral music experience to the performances. Patrick Vaughn, Choral Director for Annandale High School (Fairfax) will conduct the Senior Mixed Choir. Joseph Eveler, Choral Director for Stafford High School (Stafford) will conduct the Senior Treble Choir, and Mary Ann Casey, retired PWCS Choral Director for Saunders Middle School, will conduct the Middle School Men’s and Women’s choirs.
Students at George Mason University’s Science and Technology campus near Manassas missed out on special Alumni Weekend events.
The university scheduled two events for the Manassas campus for Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016:
The Science Café with Dr. Barney Bishop talking about reptiles from 9:30 – 11:00 am in the Verizon Auditorium.
The Live Band “Ashlend,” scheduled from 5:00 – 7:00 pm in Beacon Hall Parking Lot along with the Food Trucks and local restaurants participation during the live concert.
But both were abruptly canceled. The school notified students by an email received by Potomac Local at 9:24 a.m. the day of the events.
“The decision was made on Wednesday as we had not gotten internal approval for the band to play since their insurance coverage was not channeled through the approval process in time to go forward,” stated campus spokeswoman Molly Grove in an email.
Both events are postponed until spring.
The band Ashlend, of Fairfax, in a post to their Facebook page stated about the postponement:
“A lot of complications culminating in a postponement.”
The two canceled events at the Science and Technology Campus were two of multiple events held at the University for Alumni Weekend. The majority of the events were held at the school’s main campus in Fairfax City.
“Normally this would attract our current student population, however, we wanted to have an open campus event to be family friendly as the music would be appropriate for people of all ages. With this past weekend being Alumni Weekend then we were trying to engage more of our 10,000 Mason Alum and their families that live in the greater Prince William area to our SciTech campus,” added Grove.
News Nolan Bushnell, creator of Atari, is Game Pioneer in Residence at Prince William County’s Virginia Serious Game Institute
If your childhood included fun-filled visits to Chuck E. Cheese’s or countless hours playing on Atari, then you can thank this guy – Nolan Bushnell. That’s correct, the founder of Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza-Time Theater Chain is also the creator of Atari, Inc. – the video gaming company that is widely credited to be the forerunner to video arcades and the modern video game industry.
So how does one man successfully pioneer two seemingly unrelated, yet equally iconic inventions?
In his new capacity as Game Pioneer in Residence at Prince William County’s Virginia Serious Game Institute, Mr. Bushnell will provide this insight at the first in a year-long series of lectures, entitled “The Future of Video Game Technology.”
Prince William County and George Mason University (Mason) invite you to learn more and attend the first lecture for free, which is held by Prince William County-based Virginia Serious Game Institute(VSGI).
A trained engineer who has started over twenty companies, Nolan Bushnell can aptly be described as a consummate entrepreneur, technology leader and visionary. According to the World Video Game of Hall, by most measures of popular impact, Pong launched the video game industry and Atari into a preeminent role in the video game industry. He has been inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame and the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame; received the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Fellowship; and Nation’s Restaurant News “Innovator of the Year” award; and was named one of Newsweek’s “50 Men Who Changed America.”
As part of his exclusive agreement with the VSGI, Mr. Bushnell will hold a public lecture each semester and work closely with students and companies in small groups; provide startup workshops on building game-related businesses; as well as other keynote events.
We emailed Stafford County Public Schools spokeswoman Sherrie Johnson some questions this morning asking her about the decision to close schools today.
Here’s our Q and A:
PL: Can you tell us why schools were closed today? Flooding at school sites? Traffic?
Johnson: High Water, impassable roads, and roads closed.
Route 1 was closed at the Potomac Fire Station and was not expected to open until after rush hour. Other secondary roads were closed by downed trees.
PL: Were any students able to safely make it to class today? If so, any idea of how many?
PL: Were school buses stuck on area roadways? If so, how many?
PL: How does the school division weigh the safety of its students / employees sitting in traffic on flooded roads? How was this weighted into today’s decision to close?
Johnson: The safety of our students and staff is our top priority for Stafford County Public Schools.
Johnson also included this situation report in her email to us:
Stafford County Emergency Management: 2016-09-29 Severe Weather (Rain) Situation Report:
o Rain accumulations:
- South County: approx. 3-6”
- North County: approx. 3-6”
up to 2-4” more rain is expected from now until Friday AM, 30 September
- Today, 29 September – Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. High near 73. East wind 8 to 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible. Tonight Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm, then showers after 2am. Low around 66. East wind 10 to 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New rainfall amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible.
- Friday, 30 September – Showers. High near 72. Northeast wind 8 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible. Friday Night Showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 64. Northeast wind 3 to 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.
- Saturday, 1 October – A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 77. Light and variable wind. Chance of precipitation is 40%. Saturday Night A slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 62. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
- Sunday, 2 October – Mostly sunny, with a high near 78. Sunday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 61.
o Road conditions:
- Interstate: Clear with some water pockets – Traffic is moving VERY SLOW!
- Primaries: Moderate
- Secondaries: Severe (Limited)
o Traffic lights out at 610 and Rte 1 (0740 SSO Traffic Units enroute)
o Rte 1, all lanes, near Potomac Hills closed at 0501 for 3 hrs due to flooding (Stafford Alert)
o Rte 1, 1 lane open at 0810 , near Potomac Hills (EM)
o River Road closed (SSO FB)
o Harrell Road Closed (SSO FB)
- Power Outages (0900)
o Dominion- 683 customers are out of power (down from a high of 4885) (Aquia Harbour Area is majority. Widewater Beach is also affected) Dominion Crews are on site in Aquia
o Northern Neck – 0
- Ops Update:
- Traffic Units out in force
- Deployed at 0200
Stafford County Schools closed , Employees Code II, Liberal Leave in effect
Updated 8:15 a.m.
From Stafford County Public Schools: All Stafford County Public Schools are closed today, Thursday, September 29 due to severe weather, flooding and road closures. Employees will be on Code II. Liberal leave is in effect. Administrative Offices will open at 10 a.m. Thank you,
Director of Strategic Communication and Community Engagement
31 Stafford Avenue
Stafford, Va 22554
All Stafford County Public Schools will open two hours late. There will be no A.M. preschool classes. No change… https://t.co/eD2jmgWX8F
— Stafford Schools (@SCPSchools) September 29, 2016
More information on weather-related delays.
MCB Quantico base operating condition is CODE YELLOW. Base is open on time, reasonable delays excused, unscheduled leave authorized. pic.twitter.com/6tGaEpUDXX
— MCB Quantico (@MCB_Quantico) September 29, 2016
From Prince William County Public Schools:
The newly released 2016 average of SAT scores for Prince William County Public School (PWCS) students was unchanged from last year, remaining above national averages. Over the past five years, PWCS student scores rose by a combined total of 17 points, largely matching the rise seen across Virginia, though falling short of the statewide average score.
Reading Math Writing Combined Change Since 2011-12 PWCS 513 507 487 1507 +17 Nation 494 508 482 1484 -14 Virginia 520 517 498 1535 +18
Mulgrew noted that the number of PWCS students taking the SAT has increased by seven percent over the past five years, while statewide SAT participation dropped by six percent over the same period. “The increase in our SAT tests over the past few years is directly tied to our success in getting more students involved in rigorous AP, IB, and Cambridge courses,” he said. “Students who take courses like that are better prepared for college and for overall academic success.”
Among notable achievements in this year’s SAT results, Four schools – Brentsville, Freedom, Potomac, and Woodbridge, increased scores in all three areas, with Freedom and Potomac, the schools most in need of improvement, showing the largest gains;
Osbourn Park increased in reading and writing; and
Combined totals at Battlefield, Osbourn Park, and Patriot all exceeded state and national averages. Brentsville, Forest Park, and Woodbridge all exceeded national averages.
At some schools, test participation decreased from last year because the released scores only go through January 2016. A new version of the SAT was introduced in March 2016. As of next
September, College Board Reports for seniors will reflect performance on the new test and launch a new trend. The new test combines Critical Reading and Writing into one score.
Shawn Brann will serve on the Prince William County School Board as a temporary replacement for Brentsville District representative Gil Trenum.
Trenum handpicked Brann and presented his resume, along with to others, to the School Board as a recommended temporary replacement. Trenum was deployed last month to Africa for duty in the U.S. Navy.
From Prince William County Public Schools:
The Prince William County School Board voted unanimously on September 21 to select Bristow resident Shawn L. Brann to fill the seat of Brentsville District School Board Member Gil Trenum on an interim basis while Trenum is deployed on active duty in the U.S. Navy Reserve.
Brann was selected from among four applicants for the post. The newly sworn-in Brann will serve as Acting Member on behalf of Trenum and constituents of the Brentsville District.
A senior technical writer for General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Brann has over 21 years’ experience working in the local community, the Department of Defense, and the intelligence community on highly-regarded and dynamic intelligence community-organization contracts. He has seven years’ experience in education, including teaching language arts at Woodbridge High School, where he also served as a teacher on administrative assignment, performing all the duties of a high school assistant principal. He coached high school lacrosse as an assistant coach for varsity and head coach for junior varsity.
Brann has been an active volunteer in the Piney Branch Elementary School community; has served on the Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) budget committee led by Gil Trenum since 2012; and served on the PWCS Safe Schools Advisory Council for multiple years, including a year as chairman; and on multiple school boundary committees. He is a youth soccer coach for the Virginia Soccer Association and Northern Virginia Soccer Club and has served as committee chair and Chartered Organization Representative of Cub Scouts Pack 1343 at Piney Branch Elementary School.
Brann is a graduate of George Mason University, where he earned bachelor degrees in both English and Speech Communication and a master’s degree in Education, Secondary Education specialty. He also received certification in Mason’s Educational Leadership Licensure Program for administrative licensure.
Prior to Trenum’s deployment, local GOP leaders urged the School Board to choose one of Trenum’s handpicked replacements. Democrats on the School Board solicited an unofficial opinion from Virginia’s Attorney General’s Office that stated the Board must appoint someone to serve on a temporary basis, but that person may be anyone, not necessarily someone selected by Trenum.
Trenum is expected to get back his seat upon his return from active duty.
Kim Karr, co-founder of #iCANHELP is set to deliver a powerful presentation on social media to 4th-8th grade students at Linton Hall School in Bristow, Virginia on Wednesday, October 19, 2016. #iCANHELP is a non-profit corporation that educates on the proper use of social media, empowers students to deal with conflict, negativity, and harassment online, and instructs students and adults on how to maintain a positive digital footprint. The day will culminate with a parent event to address raising a child in a digital world. The parent workshop will be held from 6:30-7:30pm in the Linton Hall School Gym. Parents and their pre-teen or teen students from the community are invited to attend.
“We don’t usually think of it, but just like the way negativity can spread, people can be swayed or encouraged when the majority are doing ‘good’ online. Students just need to be shown how to respond to the negativity. We need to empower our future generation to take action against all the issues that are arising with technology,” says co-founder Kim Karr. “Through #iCANHELP students are learning that kindness is saving lives and it doesn’t have to be anything big- a simple smile or a nice post-it note on a locker might be all it takes.”
For more information on #iCANHELP, visit canhelpdeletenegativity.org.
News Never married, Louise A. Benton cared for children, and that’s why she got a school named for her
As the 2016-17 school year gets underway, new schools are opening, and the recent controversy over school names got me thinking “who are some of these people and what did they do to merit the honor of having a school named after them? “
There are schools that have the names of historical or political figures, but there are others named to honor educators or school administrators who served Prince William County.
This series of articles will explore just a few of these special people.
Louise A. Benton
Louise A. Benton was born July 5, 1906. She spent much of her life in and around Washington D.C. Louise was a graduate of Benjamin Franklin University and one of the first Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company operators in the District of Columbia.
After 36 years of service to the telephone company, she retired to begin a second career in Prince William County. In 1960 Louise moved to Prince William and took up residence on Hoadly Road. She worked at the Partridge School a Rehabilitation Center in Gainesville.
Ms. Benton never married but was a foster mother to two daughters Louise was able to adopt and take responsibility for the raising of her grandson.
Louise collected used clothing, then washed, mended, and distributed the garments to families in need within the county. She tutored students housed at the County Juvenile Detention Home. At age 75, she was one of the first to take advantage of free classes being offered at then newly opened Northern Virginia Community College in Manassas to improve her skills as an educator.
She was an active member of the Manassas Women’s Club, Coles District Volunteer Fire Department and Ladies Auxiliary, Woodbine Homemakers Extension Club, Prince William Hospital Auxiliary, Church of the Brethren Sewing Circle, League of Women Voters, Coles Little League Baseball Association, Garden Club, and Woodbine Baptist Church.
Benton died January 18, 1988. After her death, the Juvenile Detention Home planted a tree commemorating her service to the young folks housed there. The Woodbridge Homemakers club also acknowledged her by placing a brick with her name on it at the Manassas Museum.
The foster children she took in were instrumental in having her name put before the school board for consideration as the name of the Middle School on Hoadly Road near the home where she lived as a resident of the county. The Homemakers Extension Club also put her name up for this purpose. She was considered one of the county’s most notable senior citizens.
Benton Middle School, located at 7411 Hoadly Road near Independent Hill, opened its doors in September 2000. Today, the school houses 1,350 students.7411 Hoadly Road
This post is written by the Prince William County Historic Preservation Division.
On Saturday, September 24th beginning at 10:00 AM the 34th Annual North Stafford High School Marching Band Invitational will be held at North Stafford’s A.J. Slye Stadium.
One of the longest running marching competitions in Virginia, this year’s event will feature performances by 20 different marching bands from all over Virginia. Performances will occur approximately every 15 minutes with an exhibition performance by North Stafford’s own Big Blue Marching Band at 4:30 pm. An awards ceremony will follow where judges will award competitive categories by school size.
General admission is $6 with discounts based on age and North Stafford students will receive a discount with ID while Stafford County middle school students will receive free admission if they wear their band shirt.
This event is run by the North Stafford Band Boosters, a non-profit organization that raises funds for the North Stafford High School Band program under the direction and guidance of Mr. Chris Mallory, the new Director of Bands at North Stafford High School
News Sawyers’ motion: ‘Superintendent…is to not change the current regulations and practices regarding bathroom and locker room use’
Ryan Sawyers, Prince William County’s School Board Chairman, says he will tell the ” Superintendent that he is to not change the current regulations and practices regarding bathroom and locker room use” on Wednesday when he aims to update the division’s non-discrimination policy.
Sawyers posted this to his Facebook page:
As you likely know, I proudly support adding “sexual orientation and gender identity” to our non-discrimination policy. This is not a bathroom or locker room issue for me but a fairness issue when it comes to employment, work environment, school environment, and of course, education.
However, many are concerned about what this updated policy will do to the current practices used at individual schools when it comes to bathroom and locker room use for transgender students.
Soon many of these concerns will be answered, one way or another, by the courts and the direction for the school system will be clear.
Therefore, on September 21st I plan on making a motion similar to what is below. It should remove the concern about bathrooms and locker rooms and put the attention back on stopping any discrimination, real or perceived, based on a student or employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity. A legally married LGBT employee shouldn’t have to feel the need to hide who they’re married to because their love isn’t officially protected by school board policy.
It’s time that the Prince William County School Board step-up and protect some of our most vulnerable students and employees. I will vote “yes” on protecting LGBT students and employees by adding “sexual orientation and gender identity” to our non-discrimination policy.
The motion, although not final, will look something like this:
That the Prince William County School Board adopt the changes to the non-discrimination policy, Policy 060, by adding “sexual orientation and gender identity”. In doing so, the Prince William County School Board gives guidance to the Superintendent that he is to not change the current regulations and practices regarding bathroom and locker room use. The Prince William County School Board may specifically address this at a later date once it, as a body, is satisfied with the guidance and/or rulings provided by the courts, or as required by law.
We request that the Superintendent provide the School Board with a presentation of the new regulations that implement this policy change by the last regularly scheduled school board meeting of the 2016-2017 academic year.
Coles District School Board member Willie Deutscg sent us this statement about what he expects to happen at the School Board meeting:
I’m not sure what to expect.
If we believe in equality, Brentsville needs to be seated before we have the vote. We also owe it to the citizens to listen to them. We should also work out the result of the policy with staff before voting on it, so the board knows what they are voting on. If we want to be responsible with our money, and as least disruptive as possible, we should also wait and see what the courts say before we begin implementing anything.
Sawyers posted a letter from the Anti-Defamation League supporting Sawyer’s effort to update the policy.
A group of pastors in Prince William County said they don’t support the move.
We’ve asked all Prince William School Board members to weigh in. We’ll post their statements here if/when we receive them.
Two weeks after Prince William County Gainesville Supervisor Peter Candland held a town hall meeting to discuss school funding, the Prince William Committee of 100 will continue the conversation.
SCHOOL FUNDING: Everyone’s talking about it so what’s the best way to do it? What do the schools need for success and how do we measure that success?
Please join the Prince William Committee of 100 for our first forum of the ’16-’17 year and hear a timely discussions about our schools. Come join us for dinner if you can and renew old acquaintances as well as your membership! It’s bound to be an exciting evening you won’t want to miss!
Dr. Sam Hill, Provost
Northern Virginia Community College Woodbridge
Ruth Anderson, Supervisor
Prince William County Board of Supervisors
David S. Cline
Associate Superintendent for Finance and
Prince William County School Board
Lillie Jessie, Board Member
Prince William County School Board
Riley O’Casey, President
Prince William Education Association
Members and Public Invited
Carol Proven: firstname.lastname@example.org
There is no charge for the Program.
Please note: An RSVP is requested for everyone for planning purposes only. There is no charge for the program. Dinner is $25.00/person for members, $30 for non-members.
Opinion Reader: Schools should wait for Supreme Court, Virginia Supreme Court to rule on LGBT matter
OP-ED EXCLUSIVELY FOR POTOMACLOCAL.com
School Board Should Wait For The Courts
By Carrie Beliles, resident of Triangle, VA
Thursday, September 15, 2016
Word count: 638
Next week, the Prince William School Board will vote on a major policy proposal to add “gender identity” to the school’s non-discrimination policy. Enacting this new policy could allow transgender faculty and students to choose the bathroom, locker room, showers and athletic team participation of their preferred choice, regardless of current biological anatomy.
My family moved to Prince William County because it is a welcoming and compassionate place for all people. I enjoy that multiple cultures and people with diverse belief backgrounds all live together in relative harmony. While I believe we should protect transgender students from harassment and discrimination, this policy proposal could have far-reaching ramifications.
This gender identity policy is being debated in Courts all across the nation, and is even on its way to the Virginia Supreme Court. In August, a federal judge in Texas temporarily blocked President Obama’s guidance directive on the use of bathrooms by transgender students, (State of Texas et al v. United States of America). Also in August, the U.S. Supreme Court halted a lawsuit by a student in Gloucester County, Virginia, effectively ruling that the County did not have to open up their bathrooms, locker rooms and showers to opposite gender students (G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board). Earlier this year, 51 families in Illinois (the district in which I graduated High School, Palatine High School) filed suit against two federal agencies and Township High School District 211 on this issue, as well (Students and Parents for Privacy, et al v. United States Departments of Education and Justice, Township High School District 211, and Cook County, Illinois).On Monday, the Virginia Supreme Court decided to take up a challenge to Fairfax County’s “gender identity” policy change (Andrea Lafferty, et al, v. School Board of Fairfax County). This is the very same policy being voted and considered by the School Board on September 21 in Prince William.
Moving forward with this policy now in Prince William could open up the County to frivolous lawsuits and protracted litigation that drain taxpayer resources that could be allocated to classrooms across the county. While the constitutionality of this policy change is debated in the courts, Prince William School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers should put this on hold until the Supreme Court and the Virginia Supreme Court have ruled on this matter.
In law school, I was taught the importance of judicial precedence in how the law is administered; which means that previous rulings have significant sway on future rulings. Judicial precedent provides a blueprint for how a law should be implemented and interpreted. Precedent will be created by the US Supreme Court and Virginia Supreme Court very soon. The Prince William School Board should align itself with judicial precedent as the way forward on this issue.
If the School Board believes some action is necessary in the here and now, they should do three things: 1) evaluate the track-record of transgender welfare and determine if a problem exists; 2) take their time to debate implementation logistics and unintended consequences of this policy change; and 3) wait for the Supreme Court and Virginia Supreme Court to rule on this matter.
The Prince William County Public Schools have conducted numerous forums and outreach events regarding discrimination and school bullying, and the issue of discrimination toward transgender students and staff has not be cited as a problem at this time. This is good news.
To summarize, in order to protect our County from unnecessary lawsuits and to avoid the embarrassing possibility of a policy reversal, School Board Chairman Sawyers should push this vote to a later date allowing higher judicial precedent to pave a smoother way for our community.
Opinion Prince William Black Pastors: Revised schools discrimination policy ‘would threaten the privacy rights of our students’
The following letter to Prince William County School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers was sent to use in an emailed titled “PWC BLACK PASTORS OPPOSE SCHOOL BOARD “GENDERIDENTITY” REVISION”
Dear Chairman Sawyers and School Board Members,
We are writing to express our concern and objection to Revision of Policy 060, “Nondiscrimination And Commitment To Equity”, because of its expected implementation regarding the use of private facilities by transgender students in Prince William County schools.
This revision would update the school system’s non-discrimination policy to include “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” to the group of protected classes, along with race, color, religion, national origin, and gender. Adding “gender identity” to this non-discrimination clause would allow transgender students and staff to choose the bathroom, locker room, showers and athletic team participation of their preferred choice, regardless of biological anatomy.
While you may consider this potential change as ensuring diversity within our schools, the reality is this potential policy change would threaten the privacy rights of our students. No female or male student nor teacher should be forced to use a bathroom, locker room or shower area with someone of the opposite gender simply because that individual no longer identifies with or ignores their biological anatomy.
Our concern is also that we do not recall there being a lengthy and thorough discussion of how the county plans to safely enforce such a policy change. There has been no regulatory analysis on how this policy would be implemented. There has been no discussion or meetings on making sure that sexual misconduct does not occur or that sexual predators do not take advantage of this policy change.
Finally, this policy revision would force many students to compromise their deeply-held beliefs about privacy, modesty and sexuality. This policy revision would place children in the uncomfortable position of compromising their beliefs or face disciplinary action for having those beliefs.
Our churches are politically diverse congregations in Eastern Prince William County, and represent Democrats, Republicans and Independents. It would be wrong for the Prince William County School Board to ignore the will of its people by making this change while so many citizen concerns exists within our community.
We believe that every person is created in the image of God and deserving of respect and compassion. We unequivocally denounce all violence and bullying against LGBTQ people, but this revision will result in the discrimination against the majority of our children. To deny basic privacy to our students is the suppression of their rights. Like you, we want to make sure our children can learn absent a hostile environment, such as bullying. For that reason, as parents and pastors, we are grateful for your anti-bullying policies as they stand because they promote decency and order.
The Prince William County Public Schools have conducted numerous forums and outreach events regarding discrimination and school bullying, and the issue of discrimination toward transgender students and staff has never been a problem. For years, Prince William County Public Schools have protected and accommodated transgender students and staff in a respectful, private and genuine manner, therefore no revision is needed. The changes you are considering will place the ideology of a few powerful politicians above the right to privacy for the overwhelming majority of our families.
Therefore, we humbly request that you not pursue such a policy change.
Bishop Lyle Dukes, Harvest Life Changes Church, Woodbridge
Bishop Derek Grier, Grace Church Dumfries
Pastor Eric Kellum, Zion Church Woodbridge
Pastor Kurt Wallace, Freedom Fellowship Church, Dale City
Pastor Stephen Oni, Christ Apostolic Church, Joy Vineyard, Woodbridge
Pastor Sharon Fernandez, Spirit of the Living Christ Ministry, Woodbridge
Bishop John H. Reid, III, Victory Family Outreach Ministry, Woodbridge
Pastor Madlin Edmonds, New Creatures-in-Christ Community Church, Woodbridge
Pastor Victor Stanley, Calvary Baptist Church, Woodbridge
Pastor Al Stith, Word of Life Church, International, Woodbridge
The Prince William Republican Women’s Club is excited to present a Homeschooling Legislative Forum on Wednesday, September 21st at 7:00 PM at the Montclair Public Library located at 5049 Waterway Drive, Dumfries, VA.
Our panel includes key legislators and leaders working to champion legislation and initiatives to empower Virginia families to provide the best education for their children. Former Virginia Attorney General and homeschool dad Ken Cuccinelli will serve as moderator and our panel includes Delegate Rob Bell, sponsor of Virginia’s Tebow Bill in the 2015 and 2016 Virginia Legislative Sessions and candidate for Attorney General in 2017, Dr. Wayne Stilwell, President of the Northern Virginia Homeschool Athletic Association and homeschool dad, Marty Nohe, Supervisor for the Coles Magisterial District and homeschool dad along Kevin Hoeft representing the Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV).
PWRWC is providing a unique opportunity for homeschool families to have direct access to our leaders battling for the rights of homeschoolers and to ask questions concerning the issues impacting the education of their children. These range from access to educational facilities, receiving the same tuition discounts for dual enrollment in our Virginia Community College System as students enrolled in public schools, opportunities to tryout for and participate on interscholastic sports teams and potential tax credits for families who homeschool their children saving local school systems millions of dollars.
This program is not just for homeschool families or parents of school age children. These issues impact our community as a whole including influencing our school system, our property values and the vibrancy of community.
I hope you will all attend and feel free to invite friends, neighbors and acquaintances who have an interest in the education of our children.