Virginia school board attends controversial and moving meeting as it assesses gender policies
The Loudoun County Public School Board (LCPS) on Tuesday heard a public debate on a controversial policy imposing various gender-related provisions following a period of moving and controversial public comments.
Tuesday’s reunion came just months after physical education teacher Tanner Cross denounced the policies, telling the school board he would not assert that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa because it is against my religion. It is lying to a child, it is child abuse, and it is a sin against our God. ”
His suspension and subsequent trial fueled an already heated debate over freedom of expression and identity in one of the country’s wealthiest counties.
This debate will flow into the court system as Cross and Loudoun’s parents have already filed lawsuits on various issues. If passed, it is not known how long Policy 8040 will last given that its content is already in dispute in the Cross case.
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A county judge had previously ruled in favor of ending Cross’s suspension, saying the county’s decision was an affront to free speech. Meanwhile, the county is appealing the decision to the Virginia Supreme Court.
Policy 8040, which the school board overwhelmingly endorsed, requires teachers to use preferred pronouns and allows “transgender and transgender students” to participate in sports and other activities “in an identity-compatible manner. gender of the pupil ”.
Comments continued for hours after the scheduled meeting start time of 4 p.m. ET. The board ultimately requested a suspension and said it would meet again on Wednesday.
Opponents issued what appeared to be more intense denunciations of a policy affecting locker rooms and other facilities. Policy 8040 reads: “Students should be allowed to use the facility that matches their gender identity. “
Ryan Mooney, who identified himself as a former LCPS student, recounted his own alleged assault and worried the new policy would create loopholes for further abuse… I don’t want sexual predators to slip through the cracks , Where [inaudible] these loopholes and these policies provide. “
“I look at my little brothers and remember the things that I have been through,” he said. Choking, he added: “I remember as a 13 year old boy I was assaulted.
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Mooney went on to say that he wanted to show love to people who struggled with their identities. “But the policies here today tie the hands of parents, teachers and friends… I didn’t want to be here, but I owe it to future generations.”
Others, however, have suggested that policies like 8040 are needed to protect children. April Little, who identified herself as a former LCPS student, wore a shirt that read, “Bad theology kills.
“I am a Christian and I am also a lesbian. Some religious communities deny the dignity of transgender and heterosexual people, but I believe that all people are made in the image of God, which transcends gender,” Little said.
“I also believe that bad theology kills. If it doesn’t lead to human flourishing, it isn’t from God. There is a consensus among licensed mental health professionals that trying to prevent young people from dying. ‘expressing their true gender identity leads to depression and suicide. “
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Middle school teacher Andrea Weiskopf told the board that “all children need an ally, but our transgender children need allies now.” Weiskopf wore a t-shirt with “Protect Trans Kids” written on it and a “Black Lives Matter” sticker.
“If you call yourself an LGBTQ ally but don’t believe trans girls are girls, then you are not an ally of children,” she told the board.
Natassia Grover, however, blasted what she called “the council’s relentless assault on girls”, particularly targeting school board fathers.
“I am so shocked that there are fathers in this school board who support the 8040 policy. As a father, you play a role meant to protect the privacy, modesty and safety of children,” he said. she declared.
“The small minority of students who do not feel comfortable or safe in spaces with people of the same sex should be accommodated in a third neutral space rather than violating the basic rights of the majority of students.”
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Grover’s daughter Jolene notably accused the school board of sexism earlier this year, saying it was dangerous to open locker rooms that way.
Storm brews inside and outside of board meeting
As in previous meetings, the meetings continued to be marked by feelings of disrespect and betrayal from other members of the community.
Several commentators lambasted the school board for allowing virtual remarks before those who registered for in-person speeches. These individuals were standing outside in the rain waiting to enter the building.
Following several explosive meetings earlier this year, the board decided to only admit members of the public into the building if they signed up to comment. And last Friday, the school board announced it would allow virtual comments, prompting scrutiny from critical residents.
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Spokesman Wayde Byard told Fox News: “The chairman set the order last week. We made it public when we announced the meeting’s agenda on Friday. The registration period has closed. started last Friday and anyone could register whatever topic they wished to discuss. “
Some suspected that the school system had acted inappropriately. “I just want to say that there is a special place in hell for anyone who decided it was okay to let people out in this storm,” said one man, who wore a blue shirt that said “teach freedom expression “.
Joe Mobley, who wore a Make America Great Again hat, used his time to stay silent. At the end, he told the board: “You’ve all wasted our time enough, so it’s nice to be able to return the favor.”
At least two mothers – Elicia Brand and Jessica Mendez – became emotional as they begged the school board to change their ways. Brand told the board she was having a hard time deciding whether to re-enroll her child in the school system.
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In tears, Mendez said, “Our kids struggle with learning loss. Our kids struggle emotionally. Our kids struggle while you sit and watch, but we’re not going anywhere. We can’t all afford one. private school or are not unable to teach our children at home. We are counting on you to work with us and get along. We just want a seat at the table. “
Mendez was just one of many commentators to publicly denounce school board member Beth Barts. Many school board members are currently facing a growing recall effort, but Barts in particular has seemed to irritate commentators.
“One thing is very clear. A functioning school board will not be one that Beth Barts is a member of,” Mendez said.
Barts did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment. Byard told Fox News via email, “Ms. Barts is an elected official. It would be inappropriate for the school division to comment on criticism of her.”
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The school board found a lot of support, however, as people thanked them for their efforts during this difficult year for the county. Many called for unity, although the months of infighting seemed to leave lasting wounds in the community.
A commentator, who identified himself as Charlotte McConnell, held up a sign quoting James Baldwin. He said, “We can disagree and love each other, unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and my right to exist.”
McConnell claimed to have been abused on several occasions, but by “straight white men.”
Board chair Sheridan had previously heated up when she suggested that parents were engaging in a “dog whistle policy” in their opposition to certain racial content in the district.