375 students from Fairfax signed a petition and are planning a walk-out protest Thursday in an attempt to try and gain input on the county’s search for a new superintendent. This petition effort was advertised by students organizing for the Pride Liberation Project.
“We are a group of 375 students from nearly every FCPS high school. We are writing to ask that you bolster student outreach in the final stages of the Superintendent search by hosting student town halls during high school free periods. All of the 375 students who have signed this letter are interested in attending these town-halls,” the petition reads. “Unfortunately, the voices of the student body were not heard during this search process. In this months’ long search process, the bulk of community outreach occurred in a 15 day period in January. During this 15 day period, just one initiative focused exclusively on students: an 11 student stakeholder group. These 11 students, as qualified as they may be, cannot adequately represent the various concerns of a 178,000+ student body. Moreover, not a single one of the six town-halls that occurred focused on student concerns. In fact, one of these town-halls occurred during school hours, effectively preventing students from participating.”
The Fairfax County School Board released a statement earlier this week updating the public on their search with a rough estimate of the timeline moving forward.
“The Board has reviewed applicants and looks forward to publicly announcing the final candidate in the next few weeks,” the release from the school board said. “We have benefitted from a strong pool of applicants who have demonstrated qualities and track records aligned with those identified during the community engagement part of the process and outlined in the job posting. The hiring of the next superintendent will be confirmed through a public vote by the School Board. We will communicate with you as soon as we are able to add this to an upcoming agenda.”
In addition to asking for a town hall in each of FCPS’ five regions during student free periods, the students also are asking FCPS to “conduct a public audit of the Superintendent search process and publicly release clear indications that the Superintendent was chosen for demonstrating success in key areas, including community outreach, closing achievement and opportunity gaps, mental health access for all students, and equitable school experiences for vulnerable student populations, such as neurodivergent, people of color, LGBTQIA+, and English language learner students.”
FCPS did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The students are planning a walkout on Thursday to try and bring attention to their petition at the following schools:
- Mount Vernon High School
- Westfield High School
- Oakton High School
- McLean High School
- Liberty Middle School
- South County High School
“The next Superintendent will make decisions that shape the lives of students for years,” the students concluded in their petition. “Before concluding the immensely consequential Superintendent search process, please ensure that the diverse concerns of FCPS’ students are heard and addressed.”