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Neglected By The Elected

Sep 16, 2014 by

Neglected By The Elected:  Henrico County Public School Board Continues Its Efforts To Disenfranchise Parents and Advocates

While Longwood University offers a historic and, what appears to be sincere, apology for its involvement with The Massive Resistance Movement that denied fundamental educational opportunities to communities of color, Henrico County Public Schools has planted its feet deeper in the spirit of Massive Resistance as the administration and school board members continue to systematically disenfranchise parents, advocates, and students.

For nearly a decade, Henrico County Public Schools has been repeatedly cited by The Virginia Department of Education for its failure to educate students of color and students with disabilities at the same level as their white and non-disabled counterparts.
The citations, while symbolic in nature, did require the district to set aside monies to address the “achievement gap” that exists between African-American, Hispanic-American, students with disabilities, and their white and non-disabled counterparts.

For decades, Henrico County Public Schools has systematically denied the required resources and professional support that is prevalent on the West End of the district to the East End students and families, who are predominantly of color, with no qualms or apologies.

In recent years, advocates and parents of both, students of color and students with disabilities have increased in education and empowerment as it relates to advocating for our children.  In response to this increase in parental engagement, district officials and administrators have responded in abusively hostile and aggressive manners that are straight out of The Massive Resistance Era.

Parents, students, and advocates report being illegally banned from the school grounds after “asking excessive questions,” “engaging in excessive visits to the school in order to observe their student,” and “questioning, disagreeing with, and/or challenging the decisions of school administrators.”

Parents, students, and advocates also report instances of being “blacklisted” from the district’s email systems when they send emails documenting abuse, neglect, and civil rights violations committed by school district employees.

Parents of special needs students have reported instances of being criminally prosecuted, as a retaliation and intimidation tactic, after refusing to consent to or comply with educational plans illegally developed by the district that are detrimental to the overall welfare of their students.
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In August 2012, The UCLA Civil Remedies Project named Henrico County Public Schools third in the nation for violating the civil rights of African-American male students.  The study concluded that, based on the data collected from the Office of Civil Rights, the district practices unfair and illegal disciplinary practices involving students of color; resulting in more harsh and severe disciplinary actions and higher percentages of out of school suspensions.  The study stated that, African-American male students are suspended at a rate of over 95%, as opposed to their white counterparts, which is less than half of that amount.

And most recently, in June 2014,  the district has been named in a historic $20 million dollar civil rights law suit, in which over a dozen of its administrators; including school board members, central office staff, district-retained attorneys, and building principals; have been identified as conspiring to violate the civil rights of numerous families for years.

Approximately, four weeks after this historic lawsuit was made public throughout the world, Henrico County School district Board Attorney, Wade T. Anderson, proposed a new “School Visitor’s” policy, in which he proposed granting building principals the sole authority to ban any “visitors” to the school for what they deem to be “inappropriate” behaviors.  The policy included parents and advocates in the definition of “visitors.”

The proposed policy, P11-08-001, has faced stark criticism from the ACLU, JustChildren Legal Aid Society, parents, and advocates.  While the district utilizes the smokescreen of “student and campus safety” as the motive for the development of this policy, the district fails to exhibit integrity and transparency in admitting that this policy is an extension of the prevalent district-wide practice that seeks to systematically and disproportionately disenfranchise communities of color from the school system by any means necessary.

During a recent interview, Henrico County Pubic Schools spokesperson, Andy Jenks, identified the “School Visitors” proposal as a zero-tolerance policy implemented by the district.   He also admitted, as did School Board Attorney Anderson, that the district has already implemented this illegal practice prior to proposing this most recent policy. Under the present illegal banning practices of the district, the process is arbitrary,  the banning is indefinite, and there is no means of appealing the ban once it has been implemented outside of taking legal action to file an injunction. Several civil rights and child advocacy groups are in direct opposition to this policy as it stands due to the concerns regarding the abuse and misuse of banning by the district as a means of avoiding transparency and accountability for the quality of educational services that are being provided to our most at-risk youth.

Other parents and advocates have shared instances in which building principals have engaged in neglectful and abusive actions involving students, have been confronted, and have demanded that parents and advocates leave the school property; refusing them access to their own children, in addition to leaving them in an environment that is clearly detrimental.
While we, as parents, advocates, and communities of color as a whole, fully support maintaing safe and secure schools, we do not support the deceptive tactics of the school board and district officials in proposing a policy that would disenfranchise parents; raping them of their God-given rights to take active roles in protecting and nurturing our children while in the school setting.

Within the last five years, Henrico County Public School principals, Andrew Armstrong, formerly of John Rolfe Middle School, who is presently over Hermitage High School; and Arthur Raymond, who was previously over Moody Middle School, but is now at Fairfield Middle School; were both under investigation for civil rights violations of African-American male students.  It was reported to the school board that Raymond went as far as to contact a member of the PTA in order to ask her to make false statements on his behalf so that he could ban a parent of an autistic student that signed up to volunteer in her son’s school.  Both administrators were reported for covering up child abuse and neglect, and both administrators are named as defendants in the historic $20 million dollar lawsuit against the district for conspiring to violate the civil rights of students with special needs.

See: http://ugotnerve.wordpress.com/2014/07/03/vas-most-vulnerable-children-and-families-finally-tell-their-story/

Despite the unscrupulous history of both administrators, the school board, who continues to employ both administrators even after overwhelming documentation regarding their unethical and illegal actions have surfaced, supports granting these administrators authority to ban parents that dare to question and/or challenge them or their competence.

Advocates have shared that the district’s punitive and illegal banning practices in the past, which they are attempting to codify presently, place more restraints on advocates and parents than they do convicted pedophiles and other criminals regarding their access to school grounds and communication.  Within this context, we once again, demand that the school board reject this policy and be transparent for excluding those that have the ability to hold them accountable.

Isolating our children from their voices, the voices of parents and advocates, creates an environment in which abuse, neglect, and any other violations can take place against our most vulnerable and defenseless students without question or intervention.  Where our children go, we must be able to go for their safety and security.

We, as a society, cannot allow this. In Henrico County Public Schools, we, as parents and advocates, are forced to protect our children from those that neglect our children within the district.  We will not and cannot allow this policy to pass.  It will result in more children being abused and neglected within our schools with no one to speak out for them.   While this may be what Henrico Schools wants for our children, it is not what we want for our children.

See:  http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/stop-hcps-from-illegally-banning-parents-and

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5 Comments

  1. Stupid To Read

    I hope the people mentioned in this article sue. This is a crazy woman writing because she was fired by Henrico County schools . I am waiting for the day to read about her being sued. When did she receive a Ph. D/ (LOL)

  2. Angela

    Kim Taylor, we have been looking for you to serve you with a $20 million dollar lawsuit for violating the civil rights of our kids. When you find Mrs. Lucas, she will find us so that you can finally be held accountable and our children can have justice.

  3. Dee

    This article speaks the truth. If elected officials are not looking out for the best interests of those people who put them into office, no matter what their station in life, what is the point? There can be no democracy if “the people” cannot be heard. This country was founded on the principals of not supporting an aristocratic government. A government that only listens to its own voice. Democracy doesn’t exist in the Henrico County school system. They need to stop stating that they are the best in the nation. It is becoming the worst. Virginians; Henrico County citizens; and citizens of the US should not have to keep supporting a system of failure. The West can’t continue to succeed without the success of the East. Bring back Dr. Edwards! With all his misgivings, at least he got part of the equation right. There was some accountability and success.

    • Kim taylor

      This is Kim Taylor reporting. The same Kim taylor that Kandice Lucas has accused of verbally and mentally abusing the students at John Rolfe Middle school. For the record and after remaining silent for many years, I have finally decided to respond on line.

      In the courtroom of the Honorable Maurice Hughes, Kandice Lucas was sued and found guilty by a jury of her peers for dafamation of character. From a period of October 2010 to October 2014 I have garnished her paycheck. The amount she owes has not been settled and she can expect future garnishments until the debt is settled. Thank you.

      Kim Taylor

      • Kandi see Lucas

        Are you the same Kim Taylor that tested positive for cocaine while teaching elementary children? How is that not neglect?

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