School board member’s comments were out of line

School board member’s comments were out of line

To the editor:

I was angered by school board member Patricia Hennig’s insulting comments about Alexandria’s public high school students (“From T.C. to TJ?,” June 27). Reasonable people can intelligently disagree about the desirability of the city participating with Thomas Jefferson High School. Budget questions are not insignificant. The city would have essentially no voice in admissions, enrollment or other decisions. There also are legitimate questions to be considered about equity, inclusion and the substantial (and essential) level of city support required for Alexandria students who enroll in TJ.

But whatever one’s position on TJ participation, it is preposterous and offensive for anyone — let alone a member of the school board — to claim that “I don’t know that we’d have 14 kids pass the entrance exam,” as Hennig stated.

Alexandria’s recent T.C. Williams graduates have demonstrated significant, and continuously improving, academic performance. T.C.’s faculty and staff showcase extraordinary dedication and have helped to substantially expand the academic options available to our graduating seniors. T.C.’s performance today simply cannot be compared to that of — the then failing — T.C. during Hennig’s last tenure on school board in the mid-1990s.

Beyond the wildly inaccurate substance of Hennig’s comments, the hostile and malicious nature of her words reflects poorly on her school board service. Hennig owes T.C.’s students, faculty and staff a sincere, public, unqualified, immediate apology.
– Mark Williams