FCPS Violates Its Policy on Political Advertising

Controversial Issues Policy

A Regulation of the Fairfax County School Board states that “Campaign literature supporting one or more candidates shall not be distributed within the schools or on school buses by students, teachers, or others; nor shall campaign posters be displayed at or within the schools ….”  (Regulation 4426.5).  School administrators are ignoring this policy at at least one of its schools, Mt. Vernon High School.  A large banner touting a Democrat-endorsed School Board candidate has been placed on a fence at the school’s athletic fields  Demands to enforce Regulation 4426.5 have not been honored.

A photo of the banner is HERE.

The candidate is Mateo Oramus Reyes Dunne, the Democrat-endorsed opponent of Republican-endorsed Stori Zimmerman.  (The incumbent for the Mt. Vernon district, Karen Corbett Sanders, is not running for another term.)  Mr. Dunne’s campaign has been plagued by one controversy after another, one of which was his change of name from Matthew Stanton Dunne III to his new Hispanic-sounding name as he was preparing to run for office.  Another was a misrepresentation about his fundraising,   Another was his claim to be a spokesman for a citizen group when, in fact, has wasn’t.  These and other issues have caused at least one of his supporters to withdraw their endorsements.  See DonewithDunne.com.  

When a supporter of Stori Zimmerman complained about the Dunne banner at Mt. Vernon High School, the Director of Student Activities refused to remove it, relying on an “elections toolkit” he received from the FCPS central office.  The “toolkit” says political advertisements may be run in school-sponsored media (including sports fields), provided they are approved by the school principal and they don’t favor one political party over another.   This informal directive violates Regulation No. 4426.5, which was formally adopted by the School Board and which establishes the controlling rules.  It explicitly prohibits political advertising.  School administrators aren’t given authority to make exceptions.   Furthermore, Mr. Dunne’s banner even violates the permissive guidelines of the “toolkit,” because it identifies Mr. Dunne as the Democrat candidate, thereby favoring one party over another.

Fairfax School Monitor has been informed that a supporter of Stori Zimmerman has brought this matter to the attention of the Superintendent’s office on more than one occasion, but although he was told they’d look into it, nothing has been done.

Regulations are meaningless if they aren’t enforced.  The twelve-person School Board consists of twelve, hard-core liberal Democrats, which may explain the administration’s failure to act against Mr. Dunne.  But political favoritism is not a basis for ignoring a duly adopted rule, intended to apply equally to all.

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  1. Bruce Petersen on October 19, 2023 at 8:08 am

    Keep pounding Mark. No quarter.

  2. Steve Quiner on October 23, 2023 at 9:14 am

    Sounds like a reason for termination of several “public servants “

    • Mark Spooner on October 28, 2023 at 10:57 am

      Valerie: Thanks for your excellent observations.