Lawless Disfunction

The RT-D this morning reports that RPS has never implemented a 2012 policy that students with more than six unexcused absences per nine weeks or ten per semester be denied credit for the class(es) missed.

Aside from the absurdity of a policy that the School Board adopted but does not enforce, this – in conjunction with other public information – tells us at least five things about our awful school system and our dysfunctional school board:

1.  Our School Board Deliberately Violates State Law.

Virginia law requires the Superintendent to prosecute the parents or file a CHINS petition against the student after the seventh unexcused absence in any year.

RPS has long been violating that law wholesale.  On the most recent data (2016) RPS filed 201 prosecutions and 25 CHINS petitions for a total of 226, which was 3.1% of the 7,288 court cases required that year by the statute.

2.  The Board of “Education” Has Been Ignoring Richmond’s Violations

The State Board of Education is required by law to enforce the statute Richmond has been so flagrantly violating.  That Board has utterly failed to do so.

3.  The Policy Is Stupid and Counterproductive

If RPS and the courts were doing their jobs, no student would collect the ten unexcused absences that could trigger the policy.  Indeed, the statute requires interventions long before the seventh absence:

  • Contact the parents after any unexcused absence;
  • Develop an attendance plan after the fifth absence; and
  • Schedule a conference with the parents after the sixth absence.

While ignoring the statutory requirements, Richmond adopted this silly policy that would (if enforced) deny course credit as punishment of students whose behavior had demonstrated that they did not care about course credit.

4.  The Board Is (And Has Been) a Fraud

A policy that is not enforced – at all – is not a policy.  It is mendacious showboating.  The current School Board confirms that the policy is a fake by suspending the policy.

5.  Our Current Board Is Dysfunctional

Our School Board is fighting a pitched battle with City Council about funding new schools rather than focusing its energy on repairing the educational failures of one of the worst school systems in the state.  The Board concentrates on this secondary issue, of course, because the buildings are a problem even it can understand.  Meanwhile, the Board continues to abuse the children in its charge by failing to fix its dysfunctional school system.