The board meeting comes days after the district confined a Christian student to a small room during schoolwide periods of transgender-themed lessons that his family had objected to based on their faith – and after a court ordered the district to reinstate a suspended physed teacher who spoke out against the proposed new transgender policy at a board meeting last month.
259 people signed up for public comments. Only 51 voices were heard.
The embattled school board of Virginia’s Loudoun County cut off public comment during a fiery meeting Tuesday as residents traded barbs over new transgender policy proposals Tuesday following weeks of protests from district parents opposed to some of the measures, which they have criticized as potential left-wing indoctrination and a violation of parental rights.
The policies affect transgender student rights, privacy and restroom accommodations and would require Loudoun County Public Schools employees to use students’ preferred names or pronouns. An official school board vote on the proposal is not expected until at least Aug. 10.
But it has become a hot-button issue in the district, where 259 residents signed up to speak during the public comment session Tuesday and people lined up at the doors early to get seats in the packed auditorium.
The first half-dozen speakers were in support of policy proposal 8040, but fireworks erupted when the seventh, who identified herself as the mother of a transgender Loudoun student, was booed after saying “hate” was “dripping from the followers of Jesus in this room” – a swipe at Christian parents in the district who have argued that transgender discussions should be held at home and not in public school.
The board called a 5-minute recess to let things cool off.
After the recess, board chair Brenda Sheridan said members had voted unanimously to end public comment if the room erupted again.
“The board is here to hear from everyone,” she said. “We started our meeting early because we knew we would have a large crowd and we had a large agenda. We ask again that you respect each other, and everyone is allowed to speak.”
Residents approached the podium to weigh in on both sides of the transgender proposal – but others brought up several other high-profile incidents in the community.
Multiple parents asked the district to drop its appeal of a court order to reinstate teacher Tanner Cross, who was suspended after speaking out publicly against the proposal. They argued that fighting the judge is a waste of taxpayers’ money and doomed to fail.
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