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Wednesday, March 22, 2023
Editor’s NotebookEditor's Notebook: Keep it up until they get the message

Editor’s Notebook: Keep it up until they get the message

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It looks like the leadership of the Alexandria school system, having been caught working to cover up an alleged sexual assault at a county school not too far before last year’s high-profile Virginia election, is pulling out all the stops in trying to make the story go away.

There was the attempt to attack the credibility of the national media outlet that broke the story. There was the “we followed our policy” defense. Etc., etc.

But the Alexandria Times newspaper was having none of it.

In an editorial this week, the paper criticized the school-system leadership for trying to bury the matter, both when it happened last fall and now that it has come to light.


The superintendent’s response “was not to apologize for [the] lack of transparency, order a review of his system’s communications protocols or detail how he plans to enhance school security,” the newspaper’s editorial said. “Instead, he doubled down on the defensive posture.”

Among the purported actions of the superintendent was to discourage School Board members from talking to the media “without approval from the school public-information officer.” (Gee, the staff sure thinks the elected officials work for them, don’t they?)

Wrapping up its editorial, the paper notes a “pattern of obfuscation, censorship by the public-information officer and defensiveness” on the part of Alexandria leadership.

“Parents want their children to be safe in school, and they deserve to be told when that’s not the case,” the editorial concludes.

All I can say is: Keep at it, Alexandria Times. Don’t let school leaders off the hook. One-party rule inevitably leads to groupthink inside the bubble of conformity, which leads to situations like this.

YOU’LL HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE EDITORIAL: Good for Arlington library chief Diane Kresh, in a recent budget work session with County Board members, for acknowledging how much patronage of the library system has dropped in the COVID era. (About 25%, according to my fingers-and-toes math skills.)

Alas, there seemed little interest among County Board members at getting at the meat of the matter: (a) what was causing the dropoff; (b) was there anything Arlington officials did during the pandemic to exacerbate the situation; and (c) how do library officials woo back those wayward patrons?

Never fear: The Sun Gazette will tackle at least a couple of those topics in an editorial next week.

As regular readers know, if the paper’s editorial page had had its way, Arlington libraries would have reopened much sooner than they did. At times, it seemed as if we were the only ones to value the importance of library services; the leadership of the county government certainly was just fine with keeping them locked up, month after month after month.

Apparently a good chunk of the public got tired of waiting, and didn’t come back.

-Scott McCaffrey

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