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Virginia School Board Meeting Erupts Over Trans Students' Rights

Virginia School Board Meeting Erupts Over Trans Students' Rights

Virginia School Board
Screenshot via Twitter

A proposed policy would require staff to use the students' preferred pronouns and allow them to use facilities that fit their gender identity. 

During a school board meeting in Loudoun County, Va., on Tuesday, protesting community members caused the school board to suspend public comments for the meeting. Protesters were both in favor and against a draft school district policy requiring staff to use trans students' pronouns and names as well as permit them to access facilities and activities in line with their gender identity.

The meeting in Ashburn, Va., was eventually cut short due to the rowdiness of the group, according to The Washington Post.

Some protestors also demanded the school district ban the teaching of critical race theory in its schools.

School board chair Brenda Sheridan warned the crowd on Tuesday evening to lower their voices and adhere to a policy of appropriate decorum during public comment. The board voted to end public comment after several attendees continued to make disturbances.

Parents at the meeting held signs that read "We the parents stand up," "Education not indoctrination," and "There are two genders: male and female. Trust (teach) the science," and other parents chanted "Shame on you" to the board members as they tried to stop public comments, reported local news outlet WRC.

One man was arrested while another received a ticket for trespassing after refusing to leave the meeting.

Reuters reported that Loudoun County has been accused recently by critics of championing critical race theory -- the concept that U.S. society positions Black Americans unequally due to structural racism. The district has responded that it is only teaching staff to be "culturally responsive."

The chaotic meeting comes only a few weeks after the board suspended a local physical education teacher over his comments during a board meeting that he would refuse to use trans students' correct pronouns. A judge later reinstated the teacher.

"I'm deeply concerned about the rise in hateful messages and violent threats aimed at progressive members of the school board," Sheridan said, according to the Post. "Opponents of the school board who are pushing false stories about 'critical race theory' have severely hurt our ability to do the jobs we were elected to do."

Sheridan said that the school board would continue to stand up for the rights of LGBTQ+ students, noting that June is Pride Month.

"These politically motivated antics ought to end," she said, speaking of the night's protest. "But if they don't, know that they won't delay our work."

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