Thanks for reading Fluco Blog! I’m Perrie Johnson, Fork Union’s representative to the Fluvanna County School Board. My goal with Fluco Blog is to let people know what’s going on at School Board meetings beyond the reports available online. Be forewarned, when it comes to discussion, most of the comments I remember turn out to be mine! Here’s the latest…
I could have come up with a few great titles for this month’s post, but I’d be sorry and racking my brains again by summer, so welcome to November 2018.
Practically the only thing to talk about was the request of the FCHS Alliance Club to use the Fluco Flying F in rainbow colors in association with some of their not-for-profit activities.
In a letter to the Board, the club originally asked to use a rainbow F on stickers to give out to teachers to display in school. They respectfully changed the request after they found out that during school time teachers don’t have the same broad free speech entitlements students do. To minimize distractions from instruction, it’s a condition of teachers’ employment that their rights to engage in political activity are restricted during the school day and on school property. Considering the display of a rainbow F sticker a political activity was a stretch for me, but I was advised that the legal definition includes how the activity MIGHT reasonably be interpreted by society at large.
So we’re back to the amended request to color in the Fluco F with rainbow colors in conjunction with some not-for-profit activities of the club.
By my count (which could be off a little) we had 20 public speakers in support of the club’s request and 6 against it during the first round of public comments. As I remember, absolutely every speaker was in support of the club itself. The room was packed, people were passionate about their opinions, and generally, everyone respected everyone else’s right to express themselves. I was ridiculously proud to be a citizen of Fluvanna that night. And even more proud to work with these students who were intelligent, respectful, eloquent, and civically engaged.
The Board’s discussion touched on almost all of the advantages and concerns brought up by the public. One big concern was what if undesirable groups wanted to change the F? I pointed out that the Alliance Club is a school sanctioned activity, already determined to be of benefit to our students, and we could limit permission to change the logo to only school sponsored clubs. A related concern was about the precedent this would set. It was then confirmed that in the past, a school sanctioned group had already been given permission to change the color and then sell the Fluco logo as a fundraiser. That ship has sailed. I finally made a motion to accept the amended request (please remember, no stickers for teachers to display) but no one seconded, and the motion failed. There was no vote. The Board settled on getting legal advice about who actually owns the trademark and discussing this again.
A good number of people were still in the meeting by the last round of public comments. About a dozen spoke, disappointed (to put it gently) by the Board’s decision. Many wanted to address how the original letter of request from the Alliance Club got released to the public before it was included in the School Board packet. As spokesperson for the entire Board, all I could say was that if it was improperly released, and by a School Board member, the Board could pass a resolution of censure or reprimand.
It was a tough meeting in some ways, but it was also (worth repeating) a great example of community engagement and respect.
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This blog is a personal blog, written and edited by me. The views expressed in this blog are purely my own and do not represent the Fluvanna County School Board, the school superintendent, or anyone else. Comments added by others are not necessarily my opinions and I am not responsible for their content.