School Board affirms commitment to ‘all students,’ urges study
Meeting in Montross Nov. 19, the Westmoreland County School Board affirmed its mission to serve all students, changed future meeting times, and honored teachers who’ve served the school system.
After a closed session, the Board reconvened at its Opal Ln. central offices. Among early action items, the group established a new meeting time. Closed sessions now convene at 4 p.m. with the regular meeting at 5 p.m.
Chairman Daniel Wallace made a motion to respond to recent changes in the Virginia School Boards Association’s phrasing of its position on home-school students participating in the Virginia High School League.
Original phrasing in VSBA legislation acknowledged implications surrounding the issue, and recommended that the General Assembly defer action until a study could be performed.
However, at a recent delegate assembly, that phrasing was changed to a blanket statement that the VSBA opposes participation of non-public school students in VHSL activities. Approval was divided with about two-thirds in favor.
Chairman Daniel Wallace opposed the measure “on the basis of several things,” he said, including its “radical change.”
Board discussions have supported home-schooled students participating “in certain conditions and circumstances,” the Chairman pointed out. “I feel like we have a responsibility to all, meaning all, students in Westmoreland County.”
The “Tebow bill,” named for the New York Jets quarterback who played football for his local Florida public school high school while being home-schooled was rejected in the Virginia Senate this year, but support for similar measures remains.
“If we were able to do a study, it would at least let us better understand; how do we do this in a way that makes it a smooth transition?” Wallace said.
The Board passed a resolution removing its support of that section of VSBA legislation.
Amid applause, Cople Elementary School Principal Stephanie Lambrecht accepted a certificate for the school’s 96 percent attendance for October, their second record-setting month in a row. “We’re really happy that our kids love to come to school and our parentsmake sure they get there as often as possible,” Lambrecht said.
The meeting concluded after Board members spoke in remembrance of Mary Ellen Fulcher and Naomi Johnson, former employees of Westmoreland County Schools who recently passed away.
“Mrs. Mary Fulcher was my sixth grade teacher and one who I had a lot of respect for and who made an indelible impression upon my life,” said Vice Chairman Gernard Reed. “She’ll be long remembered.”
“Mrs. Fulcher was a strong woman who said what she meant and meant what she said,” added Board member Iris Lane. “For Westmoreland County to have her for so many years as a school teacher was a blessing to the school system in addition to being a blessing to me personally.”
“Naomi Johnson is from the same area I’m from in Mt. Holly,” Lane continued. “Her spirit was so cheerful and so warm. Anytime you saw her, she made you feel so good. She’ll also be missed.”