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Sophomore still recovering at home

Editor’s note: Although this reporter does not typically cover King George local government, The Journal felt it was prudent to attend the Feb. 28 School Board meeting because it provided a window of opportunity for the elected members of the School Board to speak to its constituents on a recent report of school violence experienced by a sophomore that resulted in severe injuries and one student being charged with felony

malicious wounding.

Typically local governing bodies adhere to strict rules, which include limiting discussion to agenda items.  However, at the end of each school board meeting, members are given an opportunity to speak on any matter and are not limited by the items on the approved agenda. 

The Journal first reported on an incident of school violence Feb. 16 and ran a follow up article on Feb. 23. There has been an outpouring of citizen comment on The Journal’s website, with more than 340 comments on two stories. There have also been e-mails and phone calls previously made by The Journal and other local newspapers asking for comment. Though Monday evening’s King George School Board meeting was the first time the group has met since the initial article was published Feb. 16, no members of the five-person board stepped forward to acknowledge concerns expressed and reassure local parents.

School Board Chairwoman Renee Parker was absent from the meeting.  Dennis Paulsen took his opportunity and spoke out to the board requesting they look into alternative schools and commended high school students on their recent play.  Lynn Pardee spoke about the board developing a School Board newsletter, which would be shared with parents.  Richard Randall spoke in favor of Pardee’s suggestion, adding that on the subject of AYP “public involvement is very critical.”

No members of the audience brought up the issue during the public comment period either.

Update on the student
According to the sophomore’s mom, who wishes to remain anonymous, she received two automated phone calls from the high school on Feb. 28 and March 1 telling her that her child was absent from school.  When the sophomore’s mom contacted the school about the automated messages, she was transferred to Mrs. Reamy, who informed her that, according to her child’s records, all the documentation to qualify for homebound status was present and he was qualified for and placed on homebound instruction status on Feb. 7.  However, the sophomore’s mom reports that the school received a note from the sophomore’s doctor on Feb. 24.  The mom further reports that during the first week her child was out of school because of his injuries, she was told by school personnel that he would be provided a teacher.

Also according to the sophomore’s mom, as of last Wednesday, Feb. 23, her child is now receiving assignments, but no instruction, for all four classes.  A teacher comes to the home once a week to drop off and pick up assignments. 

This appears to be in violation of School Policy IGBG, Homebound Instruction, which states, in part,   “Upon request by the student’s parent/guardian, and provided such request is recommended by a physician, nurse practitioner or clinical psychologist, the School Board shall furnish a teacher to instruct the student at home.”

Based on the mom’s concern with her son falling behind in his required schoolwork, she reports that she had contacted the Virginia Department of Education to find resources available to help her help her son continue his education. 

According to King George Sheriff Steve Dempsey, the School Resource Officer, Corporal Butch Norris, has “finished with the interviews” and is continuing to work to close the investigation of the incident that took place at the high school on Feb. 4.

Kathy Flanagan

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