The Washington Post

After video, candidates exit school board race

Fairfax hopefuls’ reaction to student with autism drew strong disapprova­l

- BY HANNAH NATANSON

Two people running for the Fairfax County School Board have dropped out of the race days after they were captured on video laughing at a student with autism for his performanc­e of the national anthem at a board meeting.

Stephanie Lundquist-arora and Harry Jackson, whose reaction to the student drew strong disapprova­l from parents online, both exited the race this week. Jackson told ABC7 News on Monday that he was no longer a school board candidate. Lundquist-arora wrote in a post Thursday on the Independen­t Women’s Network website that she was withdrawin­g because her laughter at the student had drawn too much harassment, which threatened her ability to perform “my most important job — being a mother.”

“Being the target of constant political and personal attacks comes at too high of a price,” she wrote in the post. “It significan­tly distracted me from my family — my raison d’etre.”

Neither Jackson nor Lundquist-arora responded to a request for comment Friday.

The footage capturing the candidates’ laughter appears in an episode of “Shadow Board,” a livestream­ed Youtube show of four adults — including Jackson and Lundquist-arora — who react to the Fairfax school board’s live meetings. The video shows Jackson and Lundquist-arora laughing as the student, a D.c.-area singer and songwriter, sings the national anthem.

“Did that just happen?” Jackson asks, adding later, “I was still processing what we just experience­d.”

Lundquist-arora and Jackson previously told The Washington Post in statements that they were sorry for laughing at the student. Lundquist-arora said, “I was mistaken and my laughter was inappropri­ate,” noting that she emailed the singer’s mother to apologize.

Jackson said he was “sorry to the singer and his family for my response.”

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