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Superintendent Responds to Principal’s Letter to Parents

Arlington Public Schools superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy is responding to a lengthy resignation letter sent to Williamsburg Middle School parents by the school’s principal. The letter, first reported by ARLnow.com, accused Dr. Murphy of harassment and discrimination.

Dr. Murphy’s letter to parents toned back some of the language used by the school system last night, when officials described the letter as “regrettable,” “unfortunate” and “very angry” in a statement to the Washington Post.

“We will continue to respond with a high level of professionalism and cannot discuss Ms. Francis’s actions now or in the future,” Dr. Murphy wrote. “However, we deny that there has been any discrimination.”

APS School Talk – A Letter to the Williamsburg Community

February 2, 2011

Dear Williamsburg Parents:

By now we know that you have heard that Ms. Francis has chosen to resign her position as principal at Williamsburg Middle School. I want to assure you that the students, parents, staff and community have been and will remain my first priority during this period of transition.

While I understand that many parents may have questions, it has always been the practice of the Arlington Public Schools that we do not publicly discuss Personnel issues. Therefore, we will continue to respond with a high level of professionalism and cannot discuss Ms. Francis’s actions now or in the future. However, we deny that there has been any discrimination.

At this time, we are exercising our responsibility to make sure that we provide the best educational learning environment for your student. Our primary focus is to take appropriate and immediate steps to put a highly qualified team of administrative leaders in place at the school to ensure that we provide the best instructional support and leadership for our students, their families and the school staff.

Please know that the students at Williamsburg and their well-being will remain our primary focus as we work to ensure that they receive a high quality education in a positive learning environment.

As this process evolves, we will involve the Williamsburg community and keep you apprised of our deliberations and decisions.

Sincerely,

Patrick K. Murphy, Ed.D.

Superintendent

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