After ending last year mired in national controversy, Albemarle County Schools may have begun this academic year on equally rocky footing.

Last week, the division issued information packets to parents during the annual back-to-school “open house” event. The assortment of documents contained usual and predictable items: general school information, emergency forms, etc. But, in addition to the mundane, each bundle enclosed an odd letter from the division, attributed to Dr. Bruce Benson, Assistant Superintendent, which begins:

August 25, 2009

Dear Parent or Guardian,

Several cases of flu-like illness have been identified in this first week of school. While it is unusual to see flu this time of year, this is not unexpected. The new flu strain, novel H1N1, that was first identified in April has continued to spread in Virginia throughout the summer. The H1N1 flu virus has caused the same type of symptoms and the same severity of illness as the other seasonal flu strains that we see every winter.

Houston, we have a problem. The letter is dated August 25, 2009, but it was distributed on August 20—the week before school began. So:

  1. How could “several cases of flu-like illness” in Albemarle County Schools “have been identified in this first week of school” when school was not yet in session?
  2. Why was the letter post-dated five days beyond its actual distribution date?
  3. Why would the division knowingly disseminate inaccurate or misleading information?

Further inquiry by concerned parents yielded the following information:

  1. The letter (and its early distribution) was prompted by the health department
  2. The schools have not yet finalized a vaccination plan
  3. Once available, the schools plan to put the vaccine in “as many places as possible”
  4. The schools do not mandate the “regular” flu vaccine, but they were non-responsive about whether the H1N1 vaccine would be mandated

Given the controversy over the safety of the H1N1 vaccine,+ parents are justifiably concerned about a lack of forthrightness from the Albemarle County School Division regarding the distribution of this+ letter and about the delusive circumstances conveyed within it.

Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive! Could it be the echos of Marmion we hear ringing through the halls of Albemarle County schools?

See the controversial letter:



  1. As an Albemarle School parent, I definitely feel I was dished a big load of propaganda witht the H1N1 letter. How could an outbreak of H1N1 be determined in the first week of school a WEEK BEFORE school even began?? They are most definitely laying the groundwork for the near future when they have the H1N1 vaccine in the schools and hope that every parent will willingly comply with vaccinating their children with this potentially VERY dangerous vaccine. My hope is that parents will not let their children get the H1N1 vaccine, but do so at your own risk, or the risk of your child’s health. I URGE you to independently reasearch this vaccine b/c your child’s health and life depend on it.

  2. The Charlottesville City Schools have sent out letters in the past with strongly worded memos including false statements about how vaccines are mandated and your child will have to go home if he doesn’t have them. No mention of state-allowed exemptions, including religious exemptions. The Virginia Health Dept. is way overstepping its bounds, and the schools are complicit. We expressed our deep concerns to our principal already about how we will take our child out of school if it comes to the school vs. the swine flu shot. Did you know that public schools get money from the government for each fully vaccinated child? Ask your principal. This is creepy stuff, and it’s hard to believe even the medical people seem to have forgotten the swine flu fiasco of 1976.

  3. Parents need to stand up and not cave to this vaccine. The media is not telling the entire story. This vaccine has adjuvants that have previously been banned due to their toxicity, yet are present in this H1N1 vaccine. I will pull all of my children out of school if need be, but I shgould not have to do that. This is all hype, all propaganda, yet educated people are buying into it. Unbelievable.

  4. The ingredient Concerned Parent mentions above is called squalene. You can Google “squalene arthritis Gulf War Guillain” for more info including peer-reviewed science. Squalene has an unfortunate connection to Guillain Barre and Gulf War Syndrome. In addition, it has been shown to cause acute rheumatoid arthritis in lab animals. I agree that neither the schools nor the health department inform parents that there is a choice to opt out of this or any other vaccine product. Perhaps that does have to do with the schools getting paid for every vaccinated child? Health officials are also still not confirming whether or not neurotoxic mercury will be also used in this vaccine. We already know injecting mercury can be problematic. Just as you would with any other product for your child, this consumer product must be researched before use. It is not for everyone.

  5. I just want to point out that the school system — Albemarle or any public or private school — does not decide what vaccines are required for students. School divisions are just required to enforce the mandates enacted by the General Assembly regarding vaccinations. I appreciate the comments here about the ingredients in the vaccine and will investigate for the safety of my own children.

    However the schools are not the ones who require the vaccinations and I hope people don’t misplace their anger about that on the schools.

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