Stephen Hunt served as an at-large member of the Fairfax County School Board (FCSB) between 2004-2007.
Why bring him up now?
For over 15 years, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) has been failing students who have special education needs. FCSB and FCPS knew this 15 years ago and they know it now.
August 21, 2006, Stephen sent an email to Alice Farling, who at the time was the assistant superintendent of FCPS’s Department of Special Services. The subject of the email?
Problems with FCPS’s special education program.
FCSB’s and FCPS’s failures of 2006 continue to echo in the life of the student mentioned in the email, who failed to have his unique needs address; in the lives of all the other students whose unique needs FCPS failed to fully address; and in the cultures of FCSB and FCPS, which today are known for their failures to respond to parents and for their failures to fully address the needs of students who have special education needs.
FCSB and FCPS had an opportunity to get special education right almost 20 years ago. Instead, seniors graduating this year and recent graduates went through the system without having their unique needs met and/or having their unique needs identified too late.
And what did FCSB and FCPS do?
They went on with their lives while students they left behind continue to struggle.
Today, Stephen is chairman of Fairfax County’s Electoral Board Members.
The student who was the focus of the email graduated high school, did not attend college, and struggled for years. Now, his younger brother is being failed by the current-day FCSB and FCPS.
While Stephen’s comments in his email are appreciated, I can’t help wondering why the problems continued if he knew something was wrong. Why is it that about 12 years after Stephen emailed Alice, current-FCSB member Karen Keys-Gamarra sent a similar email. Like Stephen’s, Karen’s email is another data point for failure, instead of a changing point.
Click on the image below to view the email at a larger size.