Parents Defending Education submitted a public records request to Fairfax County Public Schools seeking documents and emails regarding the Hamas terrorist attack against Israel. PDE received numerous emails back from district staff regarding a walkout protest being held in November by James W. Robinson Secondary School students. On November 2, 2023, the school’s principal sent out an email stating that she had “met with students from our Muslim Student Association and they are planning at Humanitarian Walkout on Thursday.”
The principal tells teachers that “administration and security staff will be in the hallway, and we will direct students outside door 1 and have security staff and administrators at that location.” Someone else from the district emailed the principal stating that parents “are blowing up about this walkout” and that the “MSA has put flyers around saying it supports Palestinians so our Jewish parents are in an uproar and are planning to take their kids out of school because they are worried that it will become dangerous that day.”
On the morning of November 6, the principal sent an email to staff stating: “If parents wish to take the child out for the day or early because of safety concerns surrounding the walkout,” these students should be marked as excused.
Less than an hour later, the principal sent an email to parents stating: “I have been made aware that some students are organizing a walkout this week. I have worked with students to provide them guidance to help ensure a safe and peaceful event.” The principal did not mention the topic of the protest in the email but did call it a “peaceful protest.” Some parents responded asking what the protest was about.
In response to a parent asking what the protest was about, the principal responded that “the walkout is a Humanitarian Walkout in solidarity with Palestine.” In response to another parent, the principle stated: “The walkout is a Humanitarian Walkout in solidarity with Palestine. Students who walkout of class will have their attendance noted accordingly. If parents feel that they want their students to check out early or remain home on Thursday we will excuse those absences.”