County Families Deserve Better, Says Zia Tompkins
Fairfax County residents have successfully filed a petition to recall school board member Elaine Tholen. More than 5,000 verified signatures were submitted on Monday — only 3,600 were needed. “Our group, sister organizations and thousands and thousands who have signed our petitions agree that the kids and families of Fairfax County deserve better,” said Zia Tompkins, a member of the FCPS Accountability Coalition.
“Tholen is believed to be the first elected official in the United States to have a recall filed amid the school closure debate. Petitions for equally incompetent Abrar Omeish and Laura Cohen are not far behind,” Rory Cooper wrote in Monday’s Washington Post. “Parents are taking their schools back, starting now.”
When targeting school board members for removal, the FCPS Accountability Coalition asked four questions, according to its official website:
- Which SB members consistently advocated (through their public speaking and voting record) to get our kids back in the buildings this year?
- Which SB members consistently prioritized their time and energy on opening the schools instead of other, less-important issues and projects?
- Which SB members consistently cautioned Superintendent Brabrand about the lack of planning and readiness to open the schools?
- Which SB members understood and consistently voiced their concerns about the damage being done to children and the long-term negative impacts to the school system by keeping schools shuttered?
The FCPS Accountability Coalition concluded that not only did Omeish, Cohen and Tholen consistently fail to put the interests of students first — they were also the most vulnerable in the event a new election is called. On May 15, the Fairfax GOP endorsed the grassroots, citizen-led recall effort, following hateful, anti-Israel rhetoric from at-large board member Abrar Omeish that many considered anti-Semitic in nature.
“We have to restore common sense and decency to our school board,” said Fairfax GOP Chairman Steve Knotts in May. “Ideologues on the board have lost sight of their mission to educate students. Even as schoolhouse doors were needlessly closed for more than a year, board members were focused on vacuous theories of ‘social justice.’ In the name of ‘One Fairfax,’ they have only sown division. In the name of ‘anti-racism,’ they have abandoned the dream of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s time to end this ideological madness — let’s get back to basics with a new school board.”