School Board Discusses Transgender Student Protection after Deputies Clear Raucous Boardroom

Following a turbulent public comment session that ended with the public being escorted out of the boardroom, the School Board discussed Policy 8040, which provides protections for transgender and gender expansive students.

Groups rallied in the parking lot ahead of the school board meeting. The Allies of Loudoun demonstrated in support of LGBTQ+ students in schools. Members of the LGBTQ+ community addressed the crowd and activists led the public in prayer.

The conservative activist group Fight for Schools held an opposing rally, where opponents of the district’s racial equity work and proposed transgender rights policy voiced their concerns and frustrations with the School Board. The group, continuing with its countywide recall campaign for school board members, passed around clipboards to collect signatures for those petitions. The group also sent a billboard truck with an ad to recall Beth Barts (Leesburg).

While the policy won’t be voted on until August, groups saw the school board meeting as one final opportunity to express their outrage over the matter.

The policy complies with the Virginia state mandate that school districts enact protections for transgender and gender expansive students no later than the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

After an impassioned public comment from former Virginia state senator Dick Black opposing the policy, resulting in cheering from the audience, the school board called off public comment. Black stood on a chair to sing the National Anthem.

Superintendent Scott Ziegler ordered deputies to clear the board room. The discussion of the policy took place hours later, when the board reconvened without a live audience. 
Asia Jones, the district’s Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Services, reminded board members that policy 1040, Equal Opportunity for Equitable, Safe and Inclusive Environment, already provides many protections for transgender students. She said that there are transgender students in the school system, and to date there have not been any issues accommodating the needs of those students. 
“We work very diligently to provide very affirming, welcoming, and safe learning environments for all of our children,” said Jones. 
Under the policy, transgender students have the right to be addressed using their chosen pronouns. However, students’ gender identities are not shared with teaching staff publicly. 
Jeff Morse (Dulles) noted that, without that knowledge, some teachers might mistakenly address students by the wrong pronoun. Ziegler responded that it hasn’t been an issue so far.
“Not knowing the child’s gender status, having the occasional slip or not knowing the correct pronoun, staff would have the opportunity to correct that. It’s not going to be published, there’s not going to be a list of students saying ‘these are your transgender students,’” said Ziegler. 
The policy also allows students to participate in gender-segregated extracurricular activities that align with their chosen gender identity. That includes clubs and intramural sports.
The policy does not apply to interscholastic athletics, which are governed by the Virginia High School League. VHSL has very specific requirements regarding participation of transgender students in athletics. VHSL only allows transgender students to partake in athletics that align with their preferred gender if they have undergone sexual reassignment surgery and are undergoing hormone replacement therapy.
Misinformation and confusion about the policy have helped fueled a culture war among parents. Many parents who rallied with Fight for Schools believe that the policy is one example of a political agenda being pushed onto students, despite many of the same accommodations for transgender students existing for years in the district. 
After the board meeting, Chairwoman Brenda Sheridan released a statement condemning the crowd’s behavior.
“Tonight, the Loudoun County School Board meeting was interrupted by those who wish to use the public comment period to disrupt our work and disrespect each other. Dog-whistle politics will not delay our work. We will not back down from fighting for the rights of our students and continuing our focus on equity,” Sheridan stated. 
Denise Corbo (At Large) attended the meeting virtually and watched the chaos unravel.
“The actions I saw at the meeting were truly unfortunate. The majority of the audience negated decorum as outlined as policy….The board welcomes public comment and I encourage those who were unable to speak tonight to email their comments to the board,” Corbo said.
The board will vote on Policy 8040 in August. 

12 thoughts on “School Board Discusses Transgender Student Protection after Deputies Clear Raucous Boardroom

  • 2021-06-23 at 4:14 pm

    “Superintendent Scott Ziegler ordered deputies to clear the board room.”

    Civil Rights hate-artist Ziegler is giving orders to our deputies now? That needs to be corrected.

  • 2021-06-23 at 4:40 pm

    If only you cared, even a little, about the transgender kids you’re trying to hurt.

  • 2021-06-23 at 5:30 pm

    Ziegler had NO LEGAL authority to issue this command.

    He lies to Loudoun parents and should be fired ASAP.

  • 2021-06-23 at 8:03 pm

    The board needs to listen to what the people want and then make a decision based on what they hear rather than forcing their decision on the public. Shame on all the members of the board of education.

    • 2021-06-24 at 12:03 pm

      The people want respect for transgendered children and support the policies.

      A handful of fringe, belligerent malcontents screaming and yelling are not “the people.”

  • 2021-06-24 at 6:56 am

    Let’s take a moment to consider why parents might be upset with “THIS” school board at “EVERY” meeting and not fixate on the particular agenda item on Tuesday. First, there is the issue of equity over equality. Apparently it is considered by this school board that denying Asian student participation in advanced courses including the academies and TJ is not discriminatory. Apparently it is considered by this school board that the most diverse and economically poorest students in downtown Leesburg should not have the same right as every other neighborhood in Loudoun to attend their local elementary school they can walk to. Is it not harmful and discriminatory to bus these Plaza Street area students away from their neighborhood school (Frederick Douglas E.S.) to three schools outside downtown Leesburg? Is that EQUITY? Apparently this school board doesn’t want parental input as they don’t allow parental input into staff performance evaluations and only allocate one minute for public input? Apparently the $20,000 stipend paid to school board members for the 2 meetings per month isn’t enough to justify having a longer meeting so their clients (parents) can provide input. How does one fix this? EASY! Get the law changed that forces 100% of the property taxes collected to be given to only public schools to allow choice. Maybe if the monopoly powers clearly exhibited by this school board were to have to compete for tax dollars there would be an acceptance of input and a renewed focus on offering the best education to ALL STUDENTS. One can hope that would be the case but I imagine that in the next election the majority of registered voters in Loudoun won’t be ignoring local elections as they did the last time! 🙂

  • 2021-06-24 at 9:13 am

    This whole pronoun business is a bit confusing and frankly, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
    Each one of these children has a legal name and that’s how they should be addressed. If the child doesn’t like their name based on how they identify themselves, then do like everyone else and go file for a name change down at the courthouse. Changing one’s name is one of the simplest legal procedures there is and costs very little.
    Or, is this one of those gambits that will be used to get rid of teachers that don’t toe the union line? It will not be difficult to get a child to file a complaint against a teacher by claiming the teacher disrespected them by failing to call them by their correct pronoun. Then the ton of bricks falls on the teacher because due process apparently doesn’t exist in the LCPS when it comes to teachers.
    Address all children by their legal names until the child has the name changed.
    Just curious, but are any of these School Board members professional educators? If not, I recommend they find something else to do because having amateurs in charge of education is like having service workers performing medical procedures.

  • 2021-06-24 at 11:33 am

    Sad sign that the USA is falling apart. One must wonder who or what forces lie behind all this hate? Why can’t we all just get along, stop telling other people what to do, and respect other people? If a person requests I call them Mam I shall. If a person requests I call them Pam I shall. If a person reqiests I call them Mohammad I shall. But then please call me by MY chosen name thank you. None of this should be hard but today, in America, everything is hard and getting much harder.

    A bad omen for our collective future.

  • 2021-06-24 at 11:54 am

    This is yet another example of why the entire LCPS board ought to be recalled immediately and Mr. Ziegler should be terminated after the recall.

    I am also shocked that LCSO deputies would behave in this manner. There is a right to assemble in public spaces and as far as I can tell, one person may have been injured, possibly during the process of detaining him. That hardly counts as a violent protest. We need to call Sheriff Chapman and let him know how we feel about this matter.

    • 2021-06-24 at 10:35 pm

      The deputies did nothing wrong. The LCPS admin building is owned by the public but it is not a “public forum”. It was opened as a limited public forum for the meeting until the meeting was suspended. Since LCPS owns the building, they make the determination that the limited public forum created for the public meeting has ended and the public must disperse. That also means Ziegler would be potentially personally liable, not the deputies, if Ziegler illegally closed the forum.

      That being said, once the LCPS officials restarted a public meeting, the public had to be allowed back in. That wasn’t done. That means Ziegler and his boss, the present school board, are liable for the violation of Virginia’s FOIA laws. It also raises the question of whether deputies, who should be aware that the public cannot be barred from the grounds of a public meeting of a public body in Virginia, could be liable for preventing the public from re-entering the building. In Michigan, there is at least one federal case where this happened.

      Let it be clear. I am familiar with the law. And should Ziegler or the SB pull this again, I will calmly explain the precedents with the LCPS officials and the deputies. And if they violate the law, there will be lawsuits. Period. We will not allow this criminal cartel (aka the LCPS school board) to treat Loudoun citizens as subjects in their soviet canton.

      • 2021-06-25 at 10:29 am

        I normally find myself in agreement with you but I will differ here on this one action. Jon Tigges, the one man taken into custody on a trespassing charge, would have eventually left the building. There was no need to cuff him and arrest him. Standing in a building a little longer than an uber-sensitive board members likes ought not be a reason for arrest.

        There was a second arrest where the suspect seems to have resisted with some force and may have threatened another person. I have no problem with that action by the deputies.

        • 2021-06-26 at 3:39 pm

          Tigges, seems like a reasonable guy. But if the owner of a property declares an area closed (there was no longer a meeting being held at that point), the deputies enforce that declaration. Kind of like if you had a party, but felt things were getting too loud for your liking and asked everyone to go home. If some don’t comply, you ask the cops to enforce your request for them to stop trespassing. The deputy asked Tigges if he would leave and he replied that he would not. That is sufficient to arrest him. In fact, it appeared Tigges was practically asking to be arrested in an act of civil disobedience. But there was no real violence. That’s just gross exaggeration by the radical Lefist board members like Sheridan, Morse, Reaser, and Barts.

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