HENRICO, Va. – A Virginia school board wants to give individual school principals the power to banish parents from school property and to cut off all communications “to ensure the safety of its school buildings and campuses,” NBC reports.
A draft policy in front of the Henrico County Public Schools board reads:
“A principal may, to the extent practicable and after consultation with their Director, take steps to restrict a person’s ability to communicate with School Board employees or students if a person has directed excessive, harassing or abusive communications to school employees or students.”
But family advocate Kandise Lucas told the news site the district already banishes those it doesn’t like, the new proposal simply codifies the practice.
“The policy was implemented on my before it was even started,” Lucas told the board at a recent meeting.
“The district stated that I was disrupting the school environment by recording meetings,” she said. “By asking questions.”
Heaven forbid the public ask its elected officials questions. School administrators and board members are notorious for shutting out opposing viewpoints or those who question official polices – one of many reasons the proposed policy is so egregious.
Henrico officials have gone as far as to blacklist email addresses registered to its critics.
“Sorry. Your email address has been blacklisted,” is the response Lucas now receives when she attempts to email board members, NBC reports.
The worst part, however, is Henrico’s proposed blacklist policy allows for little recourse for those on the receiving end.
“After consideration of all available evidence, any other additional relevant information and consultation with the Division Superintendent, the Assistant Superintendent for Operations shall notify the person in writing of his decision. The Assistant Superintendent for Operations may uphold, revoke or modify the restrictions imposed. The decision of the Assistant Superintendent for Operations shall be final and the person subject to restriction shall have no right to further appeal or review by the Superintendent or the School Board,” the measure reads.
Former Virginia state superintendent Bill Bosher told the news site the blacklisting practice is “inappropriate” and believes the proposed policy will see a legal challenge.
“I always said I don’t mind being sued,” Bosher said. “I just mind losing. In reality, the person who is stopped, could very likely challenge this in the system or in the courts.”
Predictably, many parents and taxpayers are livid over the issue.
“Henrico County has lost their minds!” Paula Kennedy posted to Facebook. “Teachers can post some foul comments on social media but if we decide to write about how a school treats an issue or handles a certain issue, we become blacklisted?
“No one should have that kind of power and that is what is wrong with this county.”
Family advocate Lucas definitely agrees.
“ … (T)o give a school district this type of power to ban parents under the guise of safety, that is deceptive,” she told NBC. “And it is not acceptable.”