Christian Curriculum

Arrests at Virginia school board meeting: district divided over transgender policy


The unrest ended with the arrest of one person and the charge of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest and another was cited for trespassing.

The Loudoun County Public Schools meeting, which included an agenda item to discuss a new transgender policy, drew a large crowd of parents and community members who chanted ‘shame on you ”and protested throughout the meeting.

School officials say 251 people had signed up for public comment.

While critical race theory was not on the agenda, parents and community members accused the school district of requiring teachers to take diversity training that addresses the concept. , then teaches it to the students. They also slammed the school board for proposing a policy that would allow transgender or transgender students to use their chosen gender name and pronouns and use toilets that match their stated gender identity.

The controversy has put Loudoun County public schools in the national spotlight and comes as a growing list of states are proposing legislative bans against teaching critical race theory in public schools. Critical Race Theory centers on the idea that systemic racism is part of American society and that institutions work to give whites dominance in society. Loudoun’s divisions are also coming in as the US Department of Education and other states issue guidelines on legal protections for LGBTQ students.

“Misconceptions and disinformation”

Since Tuesday, school officials in Loudoun County have defended the district saying critical race theory is not on the agenda.

Acting Superintendent Scott Ziegler said “misconceptions and misinformation” in the media distorted the equity work being done in the school district. Ziegler said in a statement that the district has hired an independent company, The Equity Collaborative, to help improve its learning environment. The firm recommended professional development for staff members to help them recognize the “social and cultural differences of our diverse student body,” Ziegler said. Part of the training asked staff to consider how their own personal biases might affect the way they treat students.

“LCPS work on equity is a journey that requires the commitment of staff at all levels,” said Ziegler. “I think the work of the staff, which has been supported, honest and undertaken in good faith, has recently been misrepresented by some members of the public.”

Loudoun County School Board President Brenda Sheridan told CNN’s Don Lemon that she believes her school district has become the center of a disinformation campaign around critical race theory.

“I think Loudoun County, especially in our school system, is being used as a hub to promote these lies,” Sheridan said. “And it’s unfortunate because we’re a stellar school system, we’re one of the best school systems in the country. And we’re promoted as something we’re not.”

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But community members and parents insist that teachers are trained in critical race theory and compelled to teach it to students.

Ian Prior, executive director of Fight for Schools, told CNN that the school board members were part of a private Facebook group promoting critical race theory and seeking to target parents who oppose it.

“Now, when you see it spreading through the school system and in education, you have lessons where they talk about white fragility, white micro-aggressions and racist centralism, starting in second grade,” said declared Prior.

The contested transgender policy

Retired Republican Senator Dick Black was among those who lambasted the board at the meeting. Black claimed the council sought to punish opponents of critical race theory.

“You teach kids to hate other kids because of their skin color, and you make them lie about other kids’ gender,” Black said. “I am disgusted by your bigotry and your depravity.”

Black also challenged the transgender policy, saying “it is absurd and immoral for teachers to call boys girls and girls boys.”

This is not the first time that transgender politics has been a controversial topic for public schools in Loudoun County. Earlier this month, a Virginia judge ruled that the district should reinstate physical education teacher Tanner Cross, suspended for refusing to address transgender students by their preferred pronoun.
Amy Jahr sings the star-spangled banner after a Loudoun County school board meeting was interrupted by the school board because crowds refused to calm down, in Ashburn, Va., On Tuesday.

Cross had argued that because of his Christian faith, it would be dishonest to call a child by a pronoun other than his biological sex at birth.

According to CNN affiliate WJLA, the school district appealed the judge’s decision.
District spokesperson Wayde Byard said the proposed transgender policy was in line with the Virginia Department of Education’s model policies for the treatment of transgender students.

Byard said the policy would likely be revisited at another school board meeting this summer.

In an interview with WJLA, Cris Candice Tuck, parent of Loudoun schools, expressed confidence that the school district would implement the new transgender policy.

“It’s shameful,” Tuck said. “At the end of the day, we are optimistic that the school board will continue to do what is right for our children, to protect transgender children.”

Mallory Thompson and Rebekah Riess contributed to the report.


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