Falls Church News Briefs

Arlington’s Byrd Named New GMHS Principal

byrdprinciapmugshot.jpgTyrone Q. Byrd, an Arlington native and currently an assistant principal at Arlington’s Washington-Lee High School, was confirmed by the Falls Church School Board Tuesday to become the new principal at F.C.’s George Mason High School.

A graduate of Yorktown High, Reed began his education career in Arlington in 1991 as a classroom teacher at his high school alma mater, also serving as the football coach there. In 2002, he was appointed assistant principal of Williamsburg Middle School, and became assistant principal at Washington-Lee in 2006. Byrd’s family moved from Illinois to Northern Virginia in 1977, when he was in elementary school. He earned a B.A. in art from Hampton University, was credentialed to be a special education teacher at the University of Virginia, and earned his master’s degree in educational leadership at George Mason University. The appointment ends a 10-month search by the F.C. School Board, during which time Mary McDowell served as interim principal. The opening occurred when Bob Snee announced his retirement in May 2008. Byrd becomes the 14th principal of GMHS since the school opened in 1952, and he begins his duties on April 6. Byrd and his wife, Kim, have a five year old daughter. They live in the Falls Church area with three dogs.

Anti-School Bullying Forum Set in McLean March 26

“Bullying and Cyber Bullying in Our Schools” is the title of a public forum scheduled for Thursday, March 26, at 7 p.m. at the McLean Community Center, 1234 Ingleside Ave., sponsored by the Longfellow Middle School PTA and the Safe Community Coalition. A flier circulated about the forum cites statistics indicating 70 percent of eighth grade respondents in a 2008 Fairfax County Youth Survey experienced some form of bullying, and 28.7 percent were bullied to the point of injury or threat of injury. The speaker on March 26 will be Stefan Mascoll of the Fairfax County Office of Safe and Drug Free Youth. The forum follows action by the Virginia State Legislature last month adding “harassment and intimidation” to the definition of bullying, providing greater protection against “cyber-bullying,” or bullying through text messaging or online.

F.C. Police Investigate Skate Park Theft

In the context of recent controversies surrounding the perceived value versus liabilities of Falls Church mobile skate park, reflected in numerous letters to the editor in the News-Press in recent weeks, F.C. Police reported the theft of “grind rail” equipment from the skate park, now located in Madison Park at 334 Lawton Street, some time between March 3 and 6. Persons with information are urged to call 703-342-5053.

Lillian Hull, Mother of Del. Bob Hull, Dies

Shortly after 10 a.m. yesterday, Lillian Hull, 89, mother of State Del. Bob Hull, died of septic shock due to an infection contracted while rehabilitating from a broken leg in December. Funeral arrangements were pending as of press time, but a service will be held at the Christ Crossman Church in Falls Church next week. More information will become available from the church at 703-532-4026. A full obituary of Ms. Hull will appear in next week’s edition.

Fairfax-Based ‘Exodus’ Director Urged to Fire Leader

The Rev. Bob Ragan, Fairfax-based chairman of the board of “Exodus International,” a group supporting controversial efforts to convert homosexuals to heterosexual orientation, has been called upon to fire the group’s president, Alan Chambers. Leaders of three watchdog groups monitoring the “ex-gay” ministries issued the call following Chambers’ involvement in a conference in Uganda last month that allegedly promoted human rights abuses, including forced sexual conversion “therapy,” life imprisonment for people convicted of homosexuality, and the formation of an organization designed to “wipe out” homosexual practices in Uganda. Representatives from Ex-Gay Watch, Box Turtle Bulletin and Truth Wins Out signed the letter. Ragan, based in Fairfax, was the invited guest at a forum hosted by the Truro Anglican Church in Fairfax City last month, a church controlled by defectors from the national Episcopal Church.