The Springfield District Council hosted a forum for candidates running for the Springfield seat on the Fairfax County School Board last night at Washington Irving Middle School. While many of the questions were topics like school boundaries and gun violence in our schools that have been covered at other forums, one of the questions asked if candidates thought students should be required to have all of their vaccinations before attending school in Fairfax County.
Not too surprisingly, all of the candidates said they thought students should be required to have vaccinations. After saying she believes parents whose stance on vaccinations doesn’t “fit within the norm of the public school process” should find an alternative place to educate their children, however, Elizabeth Schultz claimed immigrants are creating a public health crisis when they come into Fairfax County Public Schools
“The biggest problem is that we’re accepting students from around the world and they are entering into our schools without vaccinations right now and we’re having to pay for catching them up,” Schultz said. “So I think there’s a public health crisis and we’ve had a number of them.”
“Unfortunately, you all don’t know about that publicly when that happens,” Schultz added, “but we deal with it in closed session a lot. And it’s a frightening prospect when we have these and we have to do outreach to communities to resolve some very very serious problems about health exposure to students who are already in schools.”
For someone who claims to be “bullied mercilessly” by her fellow board members and others, Schultz was fairly quick to jump at an opportunity to use a page from Trump’s playbook and attack immigrants while answering a completely unrelated question. It’s truly unfortunate that she’s brought this level of vitriol to the school board.
As Laura Jane Cohen pointed out during her answer to the question, though, you can “ask military families if you can walk in an enroll your kid without your vaccination form.” Students are required to prove they’ve had their required vaccinations and it’s simply irresponsible to suggest otherwise.
On top of that, it was very noticeable that Schultz claimed the public doesn’t know about the alleged “public health crisis” because it supposedly all went down during a closed session. This is very convenient for her as there’s no way to dispute her version of events because the information’s legally not supposed to be on the public record or discussed by school board members in a public setting.
With that being said, Schultz’s decision to publicly discuss what she wants folks to believe happened during a closed session could potentially create some issues for her since it’s a clear violation of school board policy. I imagine no action would be taken until after the election, but it’ll still be worth paying attention to whether or not she’s held accountable for discussing alleged conversations from closed sessions.
All in all, this is a prime example of Elizabeth Schultz’s time on the school board. She’s so eager to attack other people that she’s willing to blatantly break policy in a desperate attempt to score political points and cast an entire group of people as harmful to the community. It’s simply unacceptable behavior and has no place in our political discourse — especially when it comes to our schools.
For those who are interested, here’s a recording of her answer.