Spring Hill Elementary
8201 Lewinsville Rd
McLean, VA 22102
My son Liam, who has Down Syndrome, is a special ed student at Spring Hill Elementary School in Fairfax County Virginia. I am a non-custodial parent and live in Dublin VA. The custody orders do not prohibit me from attending school events but rather require my wife to send me notices of special events at school. My wife sent me the invitation to our son's class party for June 17th 2005. I decided to attend. It wasn't easy, I had to drive about 4.5 hours (each way) in order to attend but I thought it was important to show my son that I still love him and want to see him in spite of the efforts of his mother to remove me from his life.
My wife chose not to attend the party and I was not disruptive and was well received by teachers, parents, and students. My son was happy to see me, he gave me a hug, kiss and even stated several times that he loved me (audio1, audio2) and that he was glad I came to his party (audio3, audio4), said I was his "best boy", introduced me to his friends, etc which was observed by the Principal and staff. It was wonderful to see Liam again, I was looking forward to getting some photo's of him playing outside, doing the three-legged race, etc.
Unfortunately Principal Roger Vanderhye in blatant violation of State Law 22.1-4.3 and of School District Regulation 2240.3 which is based on that law, both of which require the school to allow non-custodial parents, such as myself, to attend their children's school events, had me arrested in front of my son, and other first grade students and their parents. Apparently Roger Vanderhye is unconcerned with either laws, regulations, or my sons happiness or the impact arresting me in front of him would have on him.
I was charged with trespassing, held the entire Fathers Day weekend (Friday-Monday) in in solitary confinement at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center (jail) and am being prosecuted on a charge of trespassing with a penalty of up to one year in jail. For more information read about the Criminal Trial.
The FAIRFAX COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS has decided to support Roger Vanderhye in his abuse of myself and my son and have even gone so far as to slander me by claiming the courts have prohibited me from contact with my son or attending school events. I have learned that it is common for Fairfax school employees to harass non-custodial parents with the full support of the school board.
See photo's from the class party, before I was arrested. Including a photo showing the visitor pass the administrative staff gave me after they had me sign in. A picture isn't worth one thousands words, this picture of Liam is worth Fathers-Day weekend in jail. Its the first photo of him I have in 6 months.
Roger Vanderhye has also refused to inform me of IEP meetings for my son as required by law and school policy and has harassed me for attending a parent/teacher conference wearing this t-shirt and likely had a part in not notifying me of other parent/teacher conferences.
When I asked Roger Vanderhye for a copy of a letter my wife sent him that indicated she violated the court order he said that he had shredded it -- very unlikely since it had statements she made about when she claimed I was allowed to pick Liam up from school.
People generally assume that a school principal would want parents to be interested in how their child does in school, want parents to attend their children's activities and attend IEP (special education, my son has Down Syndrome) and parent/teacher meetings. That has generally been true of the other schools I have worked with but not at Spring Hill Elementary.
It appears that Roger Vanderhye has a personal agenda in interfering with my parental rights and my relationship with my son. I don't know if it is due to his being abused by his father as a child, or if he is sleeping with my wife, or whatever. I do know that he has used his position to harm my son by making it more difficult for me to be involved in his education, and it appears his actions are motivated by anger at me rather than law or school regulations. His conduct is unprofessional, illegal and he should be removed from employment at Spring Hill Elementary and the Fairfax County School system. The actions of Roger Vanderhye violate the STANDARDS OF CONDUCT in school regulation 4429.3. He has not followed these items and thus the School Board has just cause to terminate his employement:
Please call, write or email the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the Fairfax County School Board and encourage them to follow state law 22.1-4.3 and stop the emotional abuse of my handicapped son and allow him to have his father attend his school events. You can also encourage them to fire Roger Vanderhye (it won't be the first time he has been fired/encouraged to resign).
Fairfax County School Board
10700 Page Avenue, Fairfax, Virginia 22030