District Mayor Adrian Fenty had a chance to put an end to questions about his sons' enrollment in one of D.C.'s most sought-after public schools Thursday on live TV, but would not give a direct answer.
On Monday, Fenty's twin boys started classes at Lafayette Elementary School. Fenty promised the public several years ago that he would send his sons to public school once they reached fourth grade. But when it was learned that his sons were enrolled at Lafayette, an out-of-boundary school, instead of their neighborhood West Elementary School, some questioned whether the Fentys received special treatment.
Sources told News4's Tom Sherwood Tuesday that the Fentys did follow the proper procedures for enrollment, but the mayor would not give a comment, citing family privacy. So on his weekly Connecting With the Mayor segment on NBC4, he had a chance to confirm Sherwood's report.
The question from anchor Joe Krebs:
Can you simply say you followed all the rules and received no special favors when putting your kids in Lafayette School?
"My kids are just like any other kids. You don't go around asking all these questions about what school your kids are going to go to, whether they're out of boundary, how they get there, blah blah blah blah blah. My kids deserve privacy and I'm not going to answer those types of questions. Four years ago I said I was going to send my kids to public school. On Monday we did that."
Krebs then asked a follow-up question:
Don't you think it's important for people to know that the mayor isn't getting special favors?
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"I think you draw a line at some point. I've got two 9-year-old sons. They've got to get an education. I have to be a good parent. I think once you start down this line about answering questions about your kids, it's a bad path, it's a bad precedent. I, for one, am not going to do it. I said I was going to put my sons in public school, they're in public school, and I'm going to leave it at that."
For the record, Sherwood reported Tuesday that school officials said there is widespread misunderstanding about the Lafayette waiting list. They said there is not one school-wide waiting list, but separate ones for each grade: pre-K through 5th. Pre-K was highest with 113 students, while other grades had smaller lists, and twins are counted as one application.
So if no improper acts were done, as Sherwood reported, why won't Fenty just come out and say it? One would think the mayor would want to put questions about his family to rest so he and the rest of the city can focus on more important issues. Instead, it appears this question will linger throughout the school year -- and possibly beyond.