Henrico schools mull banning 'inappropriate' parents, visitors

Published: Aug. 15, 2014 at 10:08 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 25, 2014 at 10:08 AM EDT
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HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Should the school principal be allowed to ban parents? Henrico School leaders are debating a new policy that would allow the principal to ban visitors who they feel are being "inappropriate."

"It's unbelievable. It really is," said Dr. Roshelle Moore who is shocked to hear Henrico Schools just penned suggested  policy that allows principals to ban parents…visitors…you name it…at their own discretion.

Parent advocate Dr. Roshelle Moore says she has seen cases where parents simply asking too many questions found themselves banned."

"Oh yes," said Dr. Moore. "It was one of my clients."

We took the suggested policy to the American Civil Liberties Union.

"If the school officials were smart they would tighten the policy before they issue it," said Claire Guthrie Gastañaga with ACLU of Virginia.

Their issue is the principal may restrict a person's access if the school feels that person has directed inappropriate comments through email, telephone or social media to staff or students.

"The word that concerns us the most in this policy is inappropriate because what you consider inappropriate and what I consider inappropriate may be very different," said Gastañaga.

And don't even bother complaining to the school board. According to this policy, you have five to 10 days to file an appeal and once the assistant superintendent weighs in…that decision is final.

School spokesperson Andy Jenks says it all goes back to the schools no tolerance policy.

"I do think as written the language speaks for itself," said Jenks. "I think it does speak to the serious nature of which we'll take the security and safety of our campuses."

Jenks released the following additional statement:

The earliest this could come up for a vote would be the September 25 monthly meeting. That means there will be two opportunities for in-person public comment before the vote (August 28 and September 25). The public can also comment by email whenever it's convenient. The proposals were already publicly available on our website, under "Hot Topics".

"Any person barred from School Board property under the provisions of this regulation will nonetheless be permitted to vote at a precinct located on School Board property or attend any meeting of a governmental body open to the general public held on School Board property."

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