Loudoun School Board Splits on Pride Month Proclamation

With the Loudoun County School Board embattled with critics of its handling of classes during the pandemic and its far-reaching equity initiatives, a typically routine vote on a ceremonial proclamation passed by only one vote Tuesday night.

It is the second year that the School Board voted to recognize June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Last year, a similar resolution passed on a 7-1 vote with one member absent. This year, the vote was 5-1, with three members abstaining. 

Beth Barts (Leesburg) read the resolution:

WHEREAS, the month of June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Pride Month (LGBTQ+ Pride Month); and 

WHEREAS, LGBTQ+ Pride Month is just one way that we can honor both the obstacles and strides of the LGBTQ+ community, including the LGBTQ+ students and staff members of our school division; and 

WHEREAS, A 2019 National School Climate Survey for the State of Virginia conducted by GLSEN identified high percentages of LGBTQ+ students in Virginia who experienced harassment at school and had limited access to key resources and supports that could have a positive effect on their school experiences; and 

WHEREAS, A 2021 survey conducted by The Trevor Project for LGBTQ+ youth provides critical insights into suicide risk factors, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health care disparities, discrimination, food insecurity, and conversion therapy; and 

WHEREAS, Loudoun County School Board recognizes the unique mental health needs of some of our LGBTQ+ community members; and 

WHEREAS, In response to House Bill 145 and Senate Bill 161 that were enacted by the 2020 Virginia General Assembly, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) developed Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools; and 

WHEREAS, Policy 1040 provides guidelines for the equal opportunity for an equitable, safe, and inclusive environment; and it is the intent of the School Board of Loudoun County that every policy, practice, and procedure shall reflect this commitment; and 

WHEREAS, Loudoun County Public Schools upholds the commitment to creating a welcoming, inclusive, and affirming environment that embraces all student and staff identities; and 

WHEREAS, Loudoun County Public Schools rejects hateful language and actions based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation; and 

WHEREAS, everyone should be able to live without fear of prejudice, discrimination, violence or hatred based on gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation and that right should be acknowledged at all levels of public education; 

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Loudoun County School Board, on behalf of all students, educators, and families of Loudoun County Public Schools, does hereby proclaim June 2021 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month in Loudoun County Public Schools, and; 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Loudoun County School Board urges all to respect, honor, and celebrate our diverse community and build a culture of inclusivity and equity, both during Pride Month as well as during the other eleven months of the year. 

Jeff Morse (Dulles), who was absent when the School Board adopted a Pride Month proclamation last year, said the School Division already adequately addresses those concerns through its policies and that a proclamation was unnecessary.

“I believe Loudoun County Public Schools upholds the commitment to create a welcoming, inclusive and affirming environment that embraces all students and staff identities. And I believe that Loudoun County Public Schools rejects hateful language and actions based on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation. And I believe everyone should be able to live without fear of prejudice, discrimination, violence, or hatred based on gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation and that right should be acknowledged, but I will not support this proclamation. I will be abstaining,” he said.

Morse was joined by Denise Corbo (At Large) and Harris Mahedavi (Ashburn) in abstaining from the vote.

John Beatty (Catoctin), for the second time, cast the lone vote against adopting the resolution. He questioned the foundations of the Pride Month initiative.

“At its core, what does it mean? Pride Month is about celebrating your perceived sexual identity and it is not the role of the schools to be promoting sex amongst minors,” Beatty said. “That is why some parents opt out of the [Family Life Education] curriculum. Children should be learning about sex education from their parents. But if parents choose to have schools educate their children on that topic, that is their right as parents. As representatives of Loudoun County Public Schools, what does this proclamation say about us? We are telling parents that we are trying to usurp that role. That even though they don’t want their children learning about sex from us, we’re going to make them learn it anyways. And that is what celebrating Pride month comes down to.

“In the Catholic Church, June is dedicated to the sacred heart of Jesus. But we have religious freedom, and we don’t promote one religion over another in schools. And the same should be done for sexual orientation. While it is true that we should never discriminate against anyone for any reason—sexual orientation included—it does not mean that we should be promoting it in our schools and at all grade levels. As you have already seen from some of the sexualized material in our classrooms, it is inappropriate and damaging for adults to be putting adult material into the classroom with children. We are here to educate. Let’s do that job first,” Beatty said.

3 thoughts on “Loudoun School Board Splits on Pride Month Proclamation

  • 2021-05-26 at 3:46 pm
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    More virtue signaling and social engineering by the school board when they should be focused on the education of our children.
    Vote out the “woke dopes” that means everyone with a D after their names.

  • 2021-05-26 at 10:24 pm
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    More proof that this school board is focused on anything but the education of our kids. VOTE THESE PEOPLE OUT! This group does nothing but waste time doing nothing running from social issue to social issue. The real issue is our kids are suffering due to the lack of education in the important subjects, yet this is what this school board wastes their time and ours on.

    • 2021-05-27 at 6:53 pm
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      Sex education is just as important as every other form of education.

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