Five-day suspensions have been handed out to a second group of Northern Virginia students following demonstrations in support for higher pay raises for teachers.
Fairfax High School Principal Clarence Drayer yesterday suspended between 40 and 50 of the estimated 150 to 200 who staged a brief walkout at the Fairfax City school Tuesday morning. Drayer said the only students disciplined were those who refused to return to class after the protest, along with about 10 students disciplined for reckless driving in the parking lot during the demonstration.
"It's my feeling that the ones who didn't come back to class weren't really protesting but just taking advantage of the sunny weather," Drayer said.
"I hope it's over," he added, "because, one, I don't see that it contributes anything to the cause they're talking about and, two, these kids [the ones suspended] are the ones who can least afford it."
Two weeks ago, 60 students at Bryant Intermediate School in Fairfax County were given five-day suspensions after participating in a sit-in at the school.
The Fairfax High protest was the fourth in recent weeks in support of demands of the Fairfax Education Association for more than the 5.15 percent increase granted teachers by county supervisors.
The association, which represents 6,500 of the school system's 7,000 teachers, has called for a work-to-the-rule protest by teachers but has disapproved the students walkouts.
In another development. Virginia Attorney General J. Marshall Coleman warned yesterday that the county school board's procedure for meeting and discussing school issues with the association may violate state laws against collective bargaining with public workers.
Coleman said he approved the intent of the procedure, but objected to wording that specifically names the association as a teacher representative. He als disapproved a board statement that the goal of discussions with the association would be to "develop a recommendation acceptable to the membership . . ." of the FEA. That phrase, Coleman said, implied approval of collective bargaining, which the Virginia Supreme Court in 1977 ruled illegal.
Spokesmen for the association and the school board said they had yet to read and analyze Coleman's written opinion and would have no substantive comment until they did.