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  • Fairfax Station/Laurel Hill Connection ❖ October 15-21, 2009 ❖

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    Clifton ❖ Lorton ❖ Lorton Valley ❖ Crosspointe

    Fairfax Station ❖ Laurel Hill

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    PRSRT STD U.S. Postage

    PAID Easton, MD PERMIT #322

    Attention Postmaster: Time sensitive material.

    Requested in home 10-16-09

    October 15-21, 2009 Volume XXIII, Number 41

    The Odd Couple News, Page 4

    Bullying Incident News, Page 3

    A Clifton Haunting Things To Do, Page 10

    The Odd Couple News, Page 4

    Bullying Incident News, Page 3

    A Clifton Haunting Things To Do, Page 10

    Homecoming King Jed Lee and Queen Karly Thompson pose for a photo. Lee was participating in the school’s ‘extreme blue and green’ spirit day event during the Homecoming game.

    Clifton ❖ Lorton ❖ Lorton Valley ❖ Crosspointe

    Fairfax Station ❖ Laurel Hill

  • 2 ❖ Fairfax Station/Laurel Hill Connection ❖ October 15-21, 2009

  • Fairfax Station/Laurel Hill Connection ❖ October 15-21, 2009 ❖


    Virginia Says School Failed Student with Disabilities Education department says South County Secondary did not do enough to end bullying.

    By Julia O’Donoghue The Connection

    On the first day of his senioryear at South County Second-ary School, Cory Nelson introduced himself to a fourth-pe- riod automotive technology class. Almost immediately, another student blurted out “retard,” prompting the rest of the room to break out in snickers.

    This was the inauspicious beginning to the 2008 school year. It was only the after- noon of Sept. 2 and Cory was already deal- ing with a room full of students laughing at him, he thought at the time.

    Cory, 18, was all too familiar with teas- ing and school bullies.

    At the end of the previous academic year, Cory’s parents had pulled him out of school two weeks early because of harassment from other students.

    A handful of boys, some now in Cory’s senior year auto class, had been threaten- ing to beat up Cory. One had even posted a comment on the social networking site MySpace about hiding out in the school bathroom, waiting to ambush Cory with a group of people.

    “Cory was so afraid of being jumped, that when he had a final exam outside in the

    trailers, he asked that we pull our car as close as possible to the trailer to ensure that he got in safely,” wrote Alberta Nelson, Cory’s mother, in a statement to state edu- cation officials this year.

    ALBERTA AND her husband Bernard Nelson, a homicide detective in Prince George’s County, Md., had hoped the bul- lying situation would improve during Cory’s senior year. But their son’s problems ended up going from bad to worse during his fi- nal year of high school, which the Nelsons blame on South County administrators and teachers.

    The family said the school staff did not take their son’s harassment seriously, some- times implying Cory’s parents were overre- acting or that their son wasn’t being truth- ful.

    “The system has definitely failed our son, and it failed us as parents,” wrote Alberta and Bernard in a letter about Fairfax County Public Schools to the Virginia Department of Education.

    In July, the state education department took the unusual step of siding with the Nelsons and blaming FCPS for Cory’s pre- dicament. Typically, parents and students find it very difficult to prove that school staff has not done enough to curtail harassment

    and officials usually rule in favor of the ac- cused school district, said Lisa Fagan, an attorney who worked on behalf of the Nelson family.

    But in the case of Cory and South County, the agency reprimanded Fairfax County Public Schools for violating state and fed- eral regulations.

    They said Fairfax schools failed to pro- vide Cory with a “free and appropriate edu- cation,” largely be- cause South County staff did not do enough to investi- gate Cory’s claims of harassment or put an end to the intimi- dation. FCPS tried to reverse the deci- sion, but also lost an appeal of the case.

    “I was told by the Virginia Department of Education that it was really hard to win a disability harass- ment case so we are very, very pleased,” said Alberta.

    STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES are particularly vulnerable to harassment, ac- cording to the school system’s own advisory committee on students with disabilities. In the advisory committee’s 2009 report listed “bullying of children with disabilities” as one of the most prevalent and pervasive is- sues the group’s members encounter.

    “In many cases, these problems have oc- curred with alarming frequency in both el- ementary and secondary schools. The com- mittee is very concerned that the rights of students with disabilities are being violated … and their access to the education avail- able to their non-disabled peers compro- mised,” the advisory members wrote in the report.

    “That is a nationwide problem. … Kids need to be taught that [bullying of students with dis- abilities] is not an acceptable behav- ior,” said School Board member Tessie Wilson (Braddock).

    According to Wilson, FCPS has implemented at

    least two programs to address the problem of bullying, including bullying of students with disabilities. She said the programs have yielded some improvements in student in- teractions, particularly at the elementary school level.

    The South County staff at best, seemed to ignore the harassment and also accused Corey of lying about the situation or his parents of overreacting, said Fagan.

    “The adults involved have just refused to

    See State, Page 8

    “The system has definitely failed our son, and it failed us as parents.”

    — Alberta and Bernard Nelson

    Laurel Hill/Fairfax Station/Clifton Connection Sports Editor Reed Albers 703-224-3014 or

    At left, Bagpiper Mike Ahnell of Bridgewater, N.J., entertains along Main Street. He was in Clifton helping relatives, Tim and Paula Sullivan, celebrate their 25th anniversary. Ahnell also played at their wedding.

    Above, Boy Scout Troop 1104 of Clifton Presbyte- rian Church sells fresh lemon halves with pep- permint sticks in them. From left are Dariece Rau; her son Ian McClure, 12; and troop secretary Brenda Reese.

    The crowd on Main Street enjoys the sunny day.

    Clifton Day Shines On Thousands flock to annual celebration Sunday, Oct. 11.

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  • 4 ❖ Fairfax Station/Laurel Hill Connection ❖ October 15-21, 2009

    NewsPeople Notes

    The Burdette Smith Group, P.C. took part in the first ever CPA Day of Service hosted by the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants, on Friday Oct. 1.

    Williams, Sharkey To Wed Connie and Bob

    Williams of Fairfax Station announce the engagement of their daughter Candace Page Will- iams to Michael Alan Sharkey, son of Leah and Alan Sharkey of Plainville, Mass. A wedding is planned for the fall of 2009.

    Candace Williams attended Lake Braddock Second- ary School and graduated from the University of Vir- ginia with a bachelor’s degrees in economics and religious studies. She is employed by the Department of Defense in Arling- ton.

    Sharkey attended Bishop Feehan High School in Massa- chusetts and graduated from Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in business management. He is employed by the De- partment of Housing and Urban Development in Washing- ton, D.C.

    The couple plans to reside in Arlington following their wed- ding.

    Candace Page Williams and Michael Alan Sharkey

    The Burdette Smith Group, P.C., a local CPA and Manage- ment Consulting firm, participated in the first ever CPA Day of Service hosted by the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants. On Friday Oct. 1, 12 BSG staffers scraped, primed and painted fences at the Northern Virginia Thera- peutic Riding Center in Clifton. This organization enriches the quality of life for individuals with disabilities through horseback riding in a therapeutic setting. ( The efforts of The Burdette Smith Group, P.C. and other CPAs throughout Virginia represent the CPA profession’s ongoing commitment to serving the communities where we live and work.

    CPA Firm Helps NVTRC

    The South County varsity cheerleading team, coached by Ashley Lintott, poses for a photograph during the Stallions’ Homecoming game.

    The 2009 Senior Homecoming court, from left, Allison Barrale, Carlin Tettelbach, Karly Thompson and Lenzi Hagerty.

    It’s a Stallion Thing Homecoming King and Queen during halftime.

    Senior Karly Thompson just moments after she was crowned as the 2009 Homecoming Queen.

    The South County marching band and color guard perform during halftime of the Homecoming game.

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