‘Unlawful assembly’: 2 parents arrested after protesting trans policies, critical race theory at Virginia school board meeting
LOUDOUN COUNTY, Virginia, June 23, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Hundreds of concerned parents were denied the opportunity to oppose critical race theory and transgender bathrooms when board members of Loudoun County Public Schools pre-emptively closed a public meeting yesterday, which saw two people arrested.
Parents, students, and teachers all took part in speaking out against the proposed introduction of critical race theory (CRT) as well as the promotion of broad transgender policies, in a long meeting of the Loudoun County Public School (LCPS) Board on Tuesday, June 22. The meeting was dominated by members of the board exercising heavy control over parental concerns about the promotion of transgenderism and CRT to kids, and when parents attempted to continue speaking after the board ended the meeting, two were arrested by sheriff’s deputies.
Loudoun County is about 30 miles outside of Washington, D.C. Located near Dulles International Airport, it’s the richest county in the United States and borders Fairfax County, which is just outside D.C. Fairfax County is already well-known to social conservatives for its graphic public school sex-ed curriculum and transgender bathroom policies.
LCPS teachers previously compiled a “list” of parents who opposed critical race theory with the stated purpose to “infiltrate” their groups, use “hackers” to disrupt their communications, and “expose these people publicly.” In 2019, Loudoun County’s “Diverse Classroom Library Initiative” saw sexually explicit books placed in school libraries. An alarming number of the books focused on “sexual diversity” and contained sexually explicit language, including “frequent descriptions of underage drinking, fondling, masturbation, orgasms, oral sex, sexual intercourse, sexual abuse, statutory rape, incest, and rape,” the Daily Signal reported at the time.
Former state senator excoriates anti-free speech Loudoun County school board: ‘I am disgusted by your bigotry and your depravity’
People began queuing up outside the board room early on Tuesday, in order to secure their place to speak during the public comment session. A total of 259 people signed up for public comments, but less than one-fifth of that number, 51, were officially heard.
Those called upon to speak were allowed just one minute at the microphone.
LifeSiteNews spoke to Brenda Tillett, President of Stand Up Virginia, an organization which was instrumental in encouraging concerned parents to attend Tuesday’s school board meeting.
Tillett herself was present at the meeting, and noted how Loudoun has recently become the “battleground county for Virginia and all of the U.S., fighting critical race theory and school boards that are overriding the parental rights and infusing politics into the classroom.”
However, such was the firm opposition to the school board’s proposals to radically advance the transgender issue, that transgender supporters were called in to attend the meeting and support the board. Buses were in fact arranged to transport them, but only a “handful” of supporters appeared.
As the meeting began, the opening speakers were in favor of the school board’s far-left policies, with one mother accusing others in the room of spreading “hate,” which she claimed was “dripping from the followers of Jesus in this room.”
This verbal attack prompted upset in the room, with some shouting their opposition to the comment and accusing her of spreading hate, although no one expressed physical opposition. Following this, the board exited the room, and upon returning after a five minute “time-out,” issued the ultimatum that any further interruptions would lead to the closure of the public comment session. The board had apparently held a vote on the matter while out of the room, and decided unanimously in favor of the ruling.
Such a threat had the desired effect, with attendees at the meeting keeping a hushed atmosphere in order to survive the threatened prevention of their address to the board.
“I am disgusted by your bigotry and your depravity,” he ended, which led to almost instinctive applause and mass cheering from the crowd in the room.
True to its threat, the board thus took another vote in front of the meeting, unanimously voting to end the public comments session and the meeting itself.
Attendees protested the decision, calling for the meeting to reconvene in order to have the opportunity to exercise their freedom of speech and express an opinion on the formation of school-children in the county. Parents booed the school board, and cries of “shame on you” rang through the room. Parents even spontaneously broke into a rendition of the national anthem.
Even though the meeting had been terminated, many decided to remain in the room and give their testimonies regardless, with community leader Jon Tigges providing a megaphone to the nearly 200 people who still wished to present their comments.
The Family Foundation, which had representatives also present at the meeting, noted that the remarks which followed were “some of the most moving and inspiring moments of the evening.”
Members of the school board then emerged and accused the meeting attendees who were still present of conducting an “unlawful assembly,” ordering people to vacate the room. Tigges and many others were unwilling to leave, given the circumstances of how the meeting had ended. Tigges added that he would stay until everyone had been able to speak, a decision which led to his subsequent arrest by sheriff’s deputies who were present.
He was later released, after receiving a trespassing summons, while another man was also arrested for Obstruction of Justice and Disorderly Conduct.
Two arrests made at the Loudoun County, Virginia school board meeting after it was declared an unlawful assembly and some parents here to protest against critical race theory and a transgender policy refused to leave right away #CriticalRaceTheory pic.twitter.com/dsZDrqJ0Gp— Gabriella Borter (@gabriellaborter) June 22, 2021
Parents protesting against critical race theory broke into the national anthem when the Loudoun Co., Virginia school board ended public comment because the crowd got too out of hand pic.twitter.com/qms00grIIj— Gabriella Borter (@gabriellaborter) June 22, 2021
Brenda Sheridan, the LCPS Board Chairman, issued a statement after the meeting claiming that the meeting was “interrupted by those who wish to use the public comment period to disrupt our work and disrespect each other.”
She also addressed the parental concern over LGBT promotion, writing: “During the month of June, Virginia recognizes Pride Month, a time to celebrate the LGBTQIA community and the progress we have made to be inclusive of all Loudoun County residents. I am proud of all of our students and I stand with them.”
LCPS considering forcing fake trans pronouns on teachers and students, allowing boys in girls’ bathrooms
Tillett explained to LifeSiteNews that the chief issue of the recent meeting was the school board’s rampant promotion of transgender ideology in the classroom, as outlined in a draft policy. She noted how children and teachers would be forced to call their classmates or students by their “preferred pronouns,” instead of by those which reflect to their biological sex.
Such a policy would be a violation of freedom of speech, Tillett noted.
Under terms of the LCPS proposed draft policy, students would have access to any restroom or locker room which corresponded to “their gender identity,” meaning that biological males could aches female restrooms, should they “identify” as female. All a student has to do in order to identify as a different sex, is use different pronouns, “without any substantiating evidence, regardless of the name and gender recorded in the student’s permanent educational record.”
‘While the left may hope this is only a temporary flare-up, the truth is that this has all the makings of a serious, long-lasting movement,’ said Terry Schilling, president of the American Principles Project. Parents are concerned about ‘the education and innocence of our children.’
Should a female student object to a biological male in the female restrooms, she would be in violation of the policy, and the “equality” offered to LGBT students.
An eighth-grade student slammed the proposal at a previous LCPS meeting, describing it as “dangerous and rooted in sexism.”
“You do this in the name of inclusivity while ignoring the girls who will pay the price. Your policies choose boys’ wants over girls’ needs,” the student added.
The school board has already risen to media notoriety in the recent weeks with its decision to suspend a P.E. teacher for his refusal to call students by fake pronouns and instead refer to them based on their actual sex. Bryon “Tanner” Cross was later reinstated by order of Loudoun County Circuit Judge, James Plowman, but the school district has indicated that it will not rest with the decision, and even take the matter to the Supreme Court, in order to punish Cross.
Critical race theory ‘a political goal to create a divide based on race’
Transgenderism is not the only issue being forced upon school-children in the LCPS, however, as aspects of critical race theory are already being taught in the classrooms. Tillett mentioned how current class content includes the teaching that white people are “oppressors,” that students must “examine your white privilege,” and have retrospective guilt for historical oppression.
Meanwhile black students are taught that they are currently oppressed, and always will be oppressed by the white supremacists who rule America.
“Children who never even thought about color, are now discussing color,” lamented Tillett.
“It’s a political goal to create a divide based on race,” she added. “If you continue to create a divide based on race, then that’s how you keep people voting in a certain pocket, because Democrats usually target the race issue, and then say that Republicans are racist.”
Black Loudoun County residents have a median income of $112,000; the county elected a black woman Chair At-Large to its board of supervisors in 2015.
‘They are moving forward with their own political agenda irrespective of the constituents they represent – and because of that, they will be recalled’
The events at the LCPS board meeting, including the arrest of some of those present to express their concerns, has further highlighted the importance of the conflict which is being waged in Loudoun County.
Tillett issued a stern rebuke of the LCPS Board. “Shutting down the meeting was another example of them treating parents as if we’re children, and as if they’re our parents, and another example of them shutting down the conversation and not taking into consideration the wishes and thoughts, and views, and values of parents in Loudoun County,” she declared.
“We are the majority, and they are cancelling us, they are censoring us, they are moving forward with their own political agenda irrespective of the constituents they represent – and because of that, they will be recalled.”
Terry Schilling, the president of pro-family American Principles Project, echoed this in comments provided to LifeSite: “What is happening in Loudoun County right now is important but not unique. Across the country, parents are organizing to fight back against the radical agenda being foisted upon their children in schools, from the racist and Marxist ‘critical race theory’ to the dangerous, anti-scientific transgender ideology and highly explicit, age-inappropriate sex-ed curricula.”
“All of this has parents incredibly angry at their school board members and local leaders, and they have every right to be,” Schilling added.
Schilling also noted that the event is not a one-off, but a harbinger of things to come: “While the left may hope this is only a temporary flare-up, the truth is that this has all the makings of a serious, long-lasting movement. Like the Tea Party a decade ago, this is a movement being built and fought by normal people – but instead of focusing on pocketbook issues such as taxes and budget deficits, it is concerned with something infinitely more important: the education and innocence of our children. And because these issues hit so close to home for so many families, it’s unlikely these battles will be dying down anytime soon. If anything, they’re only getting started.”