A northern Virginia school district survived its most recent public meeting after parents and protesters disrupted the meeting during the public comment period. Loudoun County’s school board cut off public comment during its meeting on transgender policies on restrooms, privacy, and use of preferred pronouns.
After weeks of protests and public opposition to the school board’s policy proposals, parents criticized board members for instituting left-wing indoctrination and critical race theory while violating parental rights. The school board will likely vote on these proposals on August 10, unless the date is changed.
Fox News reported that 259 residents signed up to speak during the public comment period during the meeting and the auditorium was packed to the brim. Yet after residents shouted down each other, the board voted for a brief five-minute recess to prevent further outbursts and calm the atmosphere. But, after the meeting resumed and multiple speakers shared their opinions, the board voted unanimously by a 9-0 vote to end the public comment for the duration of the meeting due to raucous cheers.
The cheers came after a former Republican state senator, Dick Black, blasted the school board over its treatment of a teacher whom it suspended. The teacher, Byron “Tanner” Cross, had gone before the board in a previous meeting and said that he could not call a student by a preferred gender pronoun due to his religious beliefs. Cross was suspended, but he sued the county board and a federal judge reinstated him. The county continues to appeal the ruling and it will likely be heard before the Virginia State Supreme Court.
In the end, 51 out of the 259 people who signed up to speak were able to participate in the public comment part of the meeting.
Several parents sang The Star-Spangled Banner as board members left the auditorium after declaring the public comment part of the meeting to be over. However, the board’s superintendent also declared the meeting an unlawful assembly to force attendees to vacate the auditorium, which led to law enforcement officers from the Loudoun County Sheriff’s department telling attendees to leave the premises. Two men were arrested, one for trespassing after refusing to leave and the other was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.
The amount of outrage from parents in Loudoun County, and in counties across the country, demonstrates that they believe that they are not being heard by school superintendents, board members, and teachers. After years of being in the public’s good graces, education officials and teachers are facing the consequences of extended virtual and remote learning, which has led to a lost academic year for many students and parental outrage.