Fairfax County Public Schools

Fairfax County Schools Issue Action Plan After Counselor Investigation

The school district's plan includes trying to join an FBI program and tougher screening of job applicants

NBC Universal, Inc.

Fairfax County Public Schools are making changes after an independent investigation was conducted into a counselor who was able to work for the school district despite being arrested.

Darren Thornton worked at Glasgow Middle School and was arrested for solicitation of prostitution of a minor twice over two years. FCPS said it did not learn of the first arrest in a timely manner.

The independent investigation was requested by Superintendent Michelle Reid and was conducted by outside legal counsel.

News4's Jackie Bensen has new details from the police department that first attempted to report the crimes and the Virginia Department of Corrections.

Reid sent a letter to parents that said the school system will work to convince state lawmakers to join an FBI program, known as the Rap Back service. She said it could allow for seamless background checks for all staff members and promised tougher screening for job applicants.

Reid also wrote that the FCPS human resources process needs improvement, and cited the need for continuous accountability checks. The areas of improvement listed include: notice of arrest and conviction, hiring, licensure, leave and dismissal/resignation.

"You have my commitment that we will be taking action to correct the systemic issues noted in the summary, and I have begun to take appropriate disciplinary actions as a result of this investigation," Reid wrote.

In a memo released Monday, Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Barrow outlined new employee misconduct reporting requirements.

"Two recent highly publicized cases involving alleged misconduct by public school employees prompt this reminder that protecting students from educator misconduct is a shared responsibility that must be a priority at both the state and local levels," Barrow wrote.

School Board Member Ricardy Anderson and Reid met with families virtually on Tuesday to discuss what actions the district will take after the completion of the investigation, according to an email from Anderson.

"I am committed to putting forth full effort to ensure our students are safe and thriving in our schools and look forward to meeting with you on September 27th," Anderson wrote.

Contact Us