Wait, That’s How a Virginia Principal Reacted to a Student’s Fatal Overdose?

A social media post from a Virginia school principal was meant to be uplifting following a student’s fatal overdose. It backfired spectacularly, with the blowback so bad she had to remove the post and explain herself to school administrators. It was cringe-worthy, though not reaching the level where she should lose her job. It was tone-deaf, but first, let’s get some backstory about this tragic death at Justice High School in Fairfax County in early December (via WTOP News):

A Fairfax County, Virginia, high school community is in mourning after a student’s deadly overdose earlier this week. 
Fairfax County police said they are investigating the overdose, which happened in Seven Corners on Monday [December 4]. When they got to an apartment in the 2900 block of John Marshall Drive at around 6 p.m., police said they found an unconscious teenager. The teen was taken to a hospital, where she was later pronounced dead. 
The teenager was on a video call with a friend when she became unconscious, police said. Detectives found evidence that narcotics had been used. 
In a note to the Justice High School community, obtained by WTOP, Principal Tiffany Narcisse described the incident as a “heartbreaking loss for our community.” The school has a crisis team on site in the aftermath of the incident, she wrote. 

And then, Principal Tiffany Narcisse posted this (via WUSA9): 

The principal of Justice High School in Fairfax County is receiving backlash for a photo she posted on social media following the death of a student who overdosed. Fairfax County Public Schools, along with Principal Tiffany Narcisse, have issued the entire school community an apology in response. The photo has since been taken down. 
The photo was of Principal Narcisse standing in the school hallway with a caption that read, “Losing a student is never easy for a building principal. Still smiling. Still standing. Still leading. Still teaching, learning, and growing.” 

Ms. Narcisse eventually released a statement following this disastrous post.

“As we prepare to take time away for our winter break, I hope that we will stay connected and continue to check in on each other as we process last week’s tragic loss of a student that has touched so many of us,” she wrote following the backlash. 

“I want to take a moment to address a social media post I made last week. While my intent was to uplift our community, I now realize that instead it caused hurt and harmed the school community. For that, I am truly sorry.” 

She then provided the contact information for a help hotline if any student needed further assistance, and said that her door was always open.

Now, that is what she should have said in the initial post. Frankly, while this is an embarrassing trip-up, it’s hardly the most damning thing that’s occurred in Fairfax’s school system.

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