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Posted at 9:23 AM ET, 02/22/2011

Jack Dale's response to Stuban family letter

By Washington Post editors

Fairfax Superintendent Jack Dale replied Monday to a letter sent by the family of Nick Stuban, 15, a high school sophomore who killed himself on Jan. 20 in the aftermath of a disciplinary procedure. The full text of Dale's letter is below, and here's the letter from the Stuban family. Here's Donna St. George's main story on the case, and here's her follow-up today. Here's my blog post on the matter. And here's a column by Petula Dvorak.

From Dale:
Thank you for your letter. I want to assure you that we do annually review our discipline policies. This year’s review is scheduled for a Spring work session with the School Board. At that time we will also review any new laws passed by the Virginia general assembly. I note the General Assembly because you might be interested to know that many student discipline laws passed by the Virginia General Assembly compel us to take certain actions with given infractions – invariably, the law requires us to expel a student from his/her school. For example, most drug and weapon related infractions require an expulsion from school. Our staff and this School Board invariably find alternate placements for our students – in other regular or alternative schools – instead of expelling completely from our schools.

I have also included a link to our Student Rights and Responsibilities: http://www.fcps.edu/dss/ips/ssaw/SRNR/2010-11-SRR.pdf. Pages 7-9 delineate the changes in the SR&R since the prior year review. You will also note several references to state code. Your analysis of the state code and its impact on children might be useful information for our elected officials. The state code seems to have ‘zero tolerance’ for certain infractions. The due process requirements are also in the state code, and perhaps should be reviewed as well.

Again, thank you for your comments.

Jack Dale

By Washington Post editors  | February 22, 2011; 9:23 AM ET
Categories:  Discipline  
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Comments

Mr Dale clearly needs to see his proctologist...he seems to have lost his head.

Very cold, clinical, and legal. Obviously tempered by a lawyer. Every parent should question the response and whether they could expect continued thoughtless actions and responses.

Posted by: jbeeler | February 22, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

A superintendentoid answer, lacking much. When dealing with school discipline issues - consider extenuated circumstances and employ reasonable judgment. The young man was dealing with the severe illness of his mother and all that entails. Rather than using the situation to help a student who was showing evidence of stepping into the waters of risky behavior in perhaps an attempt to cope with the stress, the school system decided to issue harsh punishment for this infraction (several days of ISS would have sufficed). The young man needed understanding and guidance. Some regular meetings with the school counselor and the school district psychologist is what he actually needed (would include some drug counseling).

Posted by: shadwell1 | February 22, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Does this DOLT we call our Superintendent ever get it? He NEVER listens to the community. Get rid of this clown and dopey School Board members like Jane Strauss who fail to see that there is a problem here.

Posted by: abcxyz2 | February 22, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Where is Jack Dale's basic sense of compassion and decency for grieving parents? Even, "I am so sorry for your loss" at the beginning of the letter would be something.....

Posted by: PLMichaelsArtist-at-Large | February 22, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Dale,

There are educated men and there are wise men. You are educated and have a brain, but you lack wisdom and a heart.

It does not seem to matter what the issue, you stay in your ivory tower and cause grief instead of grieving with your community. Even when a child dies, your response letter is just a typical Jack Dale letter. If you have seen one, you have seen a dozen.

My heart goes out to these children who no longer have a life and all those who knew them.
:(

Posted by: RubyBridges | February 22, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

How can the school district have a zero tolerance policy to a legal action? Not the best life choice and worthy of a phone call home, but he did nothing illegal.

Posted by: HawkEyedDove | February 22, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Dale's resp0onse to the parents of this boy puts new meaning to the often cited response of school bureaucracies, "It's about the kids."

Posted by: ilcn | February 22, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

SomeTHING needs to be done about this superintendent. He should not be able to just get away with this. The school district will do nothing. They just resort to all their detached, cold, calculated and lawyered up letters. (I know of which I speak. I have been there! with another school district.) This needs to be brought to the attention of a national forum. This is atrocious. My heart breaks for what Nick must have felt like. So lost, so broken, so isolated, so outcast, so desperate and alone.... They are monsters to have done this to him! He was 15 years old for God sakes!! Not much more than a child...... and I am sure his school and friends were such a connection and life line for him ... being he was an only child and his mother had been so sick for so long. It is a real crime what they did! They need to take the consequences for their actions! (as THEY enforce the students to do! who makes THEM accountable?? School board nothing!!! This needs to be broadcast all over the country!) I am so sickened by this.

And by the way.....administrators (for the most part) were "educators" at one time!!! So to the people who are saying this was done by administration, not educators....almost all administrators were teachers at one time!!! Nice going!

Posted by: tragic54 | February 23, 2011 6:59 PM | Report abuse

As the parent of a South Lakes teen, and a home and business owner in Fairfax, I am taking it as my personal responsibility to do all I can to force this inhuman thing -- he is not human -- off our Board, and to get his cronies unelected in the next round. This man is a criminal, with the blood of at least two students on his hands, and his rote recitation of the "rules and regulations" always fails to mention the flexibility and rule-bending that the rules themselves allow. He must go. NOW!

Posted by: csears | February 24, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

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