Fairfax County school board makes sweeping changes to student discipline code

Nick Stuban

Two years after a student took his own life following a severe disciplinary action by administrators, the Fairfax County school board has made sweeping changes to its student discipline code.

Thursday night, the board faced 52 recommended changes to the discipline code softening some punishments and getting parents more involved.

After six and a half hours, at 1:30 a.m. in a 9-2 vote the board adopted many of the amendments, including a drug intervention program for first time infractions, documented attempts to notify parents before students submit written testimony, and a new guide for parents of disabled students facing disciplinary action.

The vote ends part of a two-year effort by parents to change the code, a mission lead by Steve Stuban, the father of Nick Stuban, a student at H. T. Woodson High School who took his own life after receiving a multi-day suspension and forced school transfer.

“He was a tough kid, but that mental torture caused him to crack,” Steve Stuban said to ABC7 News in 2011.

“I'm doing this because what we went through was a tragedy and I don't believe anyone should be treated in such a manner,” Stuban said Thursday.

Jane Strauss, a board member representing the Dranesville district, says what didn't change is the ability for principals to speak with students when issues arise.

“We don't want to get into a situation where a principal or a school administrator has to ask for permission to speak with students,” Strauss says.

Dozens of parents were involved in pushing the board for the changes, particularly on better communication with parents when disciplinary decisions are being made.

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