Arlington parent files lawsuit against school board and superintendent

Virginia

ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — Arlington parent, Russell Laird, has filed a lawsuit against the Arlington School Board and Superintendent Francisco Durán on behalf of his daughter, claiming the school district has violated the Virginia State Constitution by not providing in-person learning options to families.  

WDVM spoke to an attorney representing Laird to find out the basis of the lawsuit, “The Virginia Constitution provides students with a fundamental right of education, specifically the Constitution of Virginia mentions ‘a high-quality education’ and so what we are alleging is that distance-only learning doesn’t meet the required standards of education,” said Jouya Rastegar, partner at WhitbeckBennett.

The Virginia State Constitution requires “a system of free public elementary and secondary schools for all children of school age throughout the Commonwealth” and that “an educational program of high quality [be] established and continually maintained.”

Laird shares concerns with parents nationwide who have had difficulties with virtual learning.

“His concerns are the same kind of concerns that I think all parents are having right now. He’s not seeing the same kid before COVID happened, he’s not seeing the same performance in her studies, he’s not seeing the same engagement and the same ability to get motivated as she had before,” said Rastegar.

Laird is not seeking money damages in the lawsuit but rather for Arlington County Public Schools to allow families a choice for their children to return to in-person learning.

“We’re asking for the court to find that what’s going on right now is not proper under the Constitution, and then we’re asking the court to enter an injunction which will prevent the county from continuing the method they’ve been employing during COVID,” stated Rastegar.

WDVM reached out to APS for a comment and they did not immediately respond.

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