Have FCPS Recognise Real Problems in Schools sign now

The Fairfax County Public School system in Northern Virginia focuses on promoting a safe, effective, and comfortable learning environment for the students enrolled. One method in they use to achieve their goals is having the students sign its 'Students' Rights and Responsibilities' (SR&R) packet at the beginning of the year. This packet is intended to be a device that makes it impossible for students to cite ignorance of the school system's policies as an excuse for their breaking of them, regardless of what the policy may be.
( A .pdf file of the SR&R in several language options may be downloaded at http://www.fcps.edu/dss/ips/ssaw/SRNR/index.htm ).

Yet, even with the large number of policies outlined in the sixty page booklet that students are instructed to read and understand with their legal guardians before signing, not many of them are actually enforced. The major policies that I have personally witnessed being enforced have been either dress code policies (Chapter I, Section D) or assault policies (Chapter II, Sec. A, Subsection 1). It is clear that assault policies need to be enforced to keep the learning environment safe, and dress codes (that do not seem incredibly unreasonable) are in place to keep the educational environment effective.

There is one group of policies, however, that is seldom enforced openly. That is Regulation 2601.23P Part 'd', more easily remembered as the regulations regarding the "Cursing, gesturing, or verbally abusing any person, including but not limited to abuse or harassment based on that person's race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, personal or physical attributes, or matters pertaining to sexuality, including sexual orientation."

Personally, I have seen members of the LGBT community attending school be called any number of derogatory and profane terms, that, for the sake of decency, I will not list. I have witnessed Muslim students being bothered by evangelical Christians in attempts to convert them and have personally been propositioned and mocked for my choice not to follow a religion. I recall, quite vividly, being sprayed in the face with what Christians generally refer to as 'holy water', to 'cleanse the devil from me and show me the path to Jesus.' I have heard racial slurs shouted at a wide variety of ethnic groups and Holocaust jokes mockingly told to Jewish students. A student in one of my classes once informed me that if a person is gay, it is better off for them to die and leave this world a cleaner place.
Sexual harassment is another issue at FCPS that is readily ignored by faculty and administrators. Lewd sexual remarks are made on a daily basis to (mostly) the female population of the schools. I\'ve even seen some students go so far as to suggest rape, and some even farther as to grope female students in the hallways, during lunch, and even during class.

This does not sound like a safe learning environment to me, and I\'m sure that a wide number of you will affirm my conclusion once the blatant ignorance to real problems of the faculty at Fairfax County Public Schools has become apparent.

I urge you to join me in drawing the attention of both individual school administrators and eventually the school board to these issues. This petition is one small way I intend to help open the eyes of the community to the intolerance that still exists in today\'s schools.

Sign this petition if you support equality in our 'safe learning environment'.

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Trina FischerBy:
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FCPS School Board

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