Fairfax County Public Schools approves time off for students to participate in protests
FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - You may notice younger faces at the next protest or rally.
The Commonwealth’s largest school district just gave the green light for students to take half a day from school to protest.
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It’s part of Fairfax County Public Schools’ update to its civic engagement policy.
The timing of this approval is interesting — students are on break and many are in the thick of the holiday season.
Even so, it’s a go.
Starting in January, students across Fairfax County Public Schools can miss a half-day of school to protest, rally or participate in civic engagement.
The originator of this update is school board member Ryan McElveen. It would require students to provide a parent note in advance-that would be approved by school administration. They also must provide evidence showing their participation in their civic engagement activity.
This newer regulation only applies to students in grades seventh through 12th.
The school district says, in part: “The biggest issue that needed to be addressed was the impact that one additional day of student absence on the absenteeism rate of the school which could impact a school’s accreditation status. The half (rather than the full) day resolves that potential problem.”
Montgomery County Public Schools is having this same conversation but it decided to table it and revisit it in the new year. FCPS decided to act now.
Read the full statement from the school system below:
"While FCPS provides opportunities for students to get involved in the life of their communities and beyond, there are occasional opportunities for students to actively participate and share their voices and perspectives within the metropolitan Washington, DC area. As a result, Regulation 2234 is being revised to permit secondary students a partial school day absence per year to participate in such activities. Students in grades 7-12 may be excused from school one partial school day per school year to participate in optional civic engagement activities. Students and parents/guardians must complete the appropriate prearranged absence form and include documented evidence of participation in an organized event or activity. Other than those activities required by FCPS course curriculum, civic engagement activities are optional and, therefore, not supervised by FCPS staff. This regulation will be effective beginning the second semester of the school year.
The biggest issue that needed to be addressed was the impact that one additional day of student absence on the absenteeism rate of the school which could impact a school’s accreditation status. The half (rather than the full) day resolves that potential problem."