Category Archives: Civil Rights

VDOE Transgender Policies Dangerous to Both Children and School Personnel

by James C. Sherlock

Virginia’s Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools is a bigger mess the more I study it.

It is as far as I can tell unprecedented in scope. I checked parallel California, D.C. and Arlington County policies. None of them comes close to the dangerous nonsense in Virginia’s new Model Policies.

Even if we ignore the legal, medical, ethical and parental rights issues, which we won’t, Model Policies will prove untenable in any school that tries to comply.

We absolutely need to make transgender students feel safe at school and not discriminate against them in any way.  Arlington County has done it well in my view. But the Virginia Department of Education’s (VDOE) (Department) new regulation fails every test of professionalism and common sense with its attempt to address those needs.

Be assured however that Model Policies meets key tests of radical progressivism.

  • Its prescriptions challenge the tenets of every major religion and the ethics of people who care about ethics;
  • It is unsupported by evidence or common sense, uncaring of consequences, unachievable by sentient adults; and
  • It is mandatory.

Continue reading

Two Police Officers Made Windsor Famous

by Kerry Dougherty

Looks like Windsor, Virginia, is finally on the map.

For all the wrong reasons.

The tiny incorporated town in Isle of Wight County, just west of Suffolk, is home to about 2,758 people.

It’s not a place that makes much news and the folks there probably like it that way.

But a traffic-stop-gone-bad catapulted the town into the national spotlight this weekend. From the Drudge Report to The New York Times, the media zeroed in on the behavior of two gun-pointing small-town police officers caught on body cam footage yelling at an African-American Army officer who was being detained over a missing license plate.

At the request of the Windsor Police Department, Gov. Ralph Northam called for a state police investigation into the incident. Continue reading

Virginia to Teach Critical Race Theory to Newborns

by James C. Sherlock

George Orwell

George Orwell, call your office. A copy of “Virginia’s (New) Birth-to-Five Early Learning and Development Standards” is on your desk.

For our readers, go here and click the March 19 VDOE press release to download.

The Commonwealth has publishedVirginia’s Foundation Blocks for Early Learning” since at least 2013. They were excellent but voluntary. 

Progressives cannot abide voluntary.

They have always considered parents the biggest obstacle to turning kids into little “social justice” warriors. Virginia’s General Assembly progressives have fixed that problem. The new program is mandatory unless you keep your kids at home until they must by law attend K-12.

Where your kids will get a “late” start on that journey.

Parents have no voice, much less rights in the matter. That is a progressive definition of heaven. (If that word has not been cancelled — hard to keep up.) Continue reading

Hey, ACLU: Forget the Fence, Go After Curfews and Booze Restrictions

by Kerry Dougherty

Some of us have been waiting 11 months for Virginia’s legal eagles – especially the ACLU – to bombard the courts with a blizzard of challenges to Gov. Ralph Northam’s excessive executive orders that have stomped on the constitutional rights of millions of Virginians.

Instead we mostly got crickets.

For a time, churches were closed.

Where were the lawyers?

In most places public schools are closed, despite laws that require school districts to meet the educational needs of students with disabilities, many of whom can’t learn without face-to-face instruction.

Where are the lawyers? Continue reading

Shredding Virginia Employment Law One Bad Bill at a Time

Face palm

by Liam Bissainthe

The Virginia state senate has blocked a bill that could potentially change the definition of “sexual harassment.” It would hold even small employers liable for comments defined as either “workplace harassment” or “sexual harassment.” Employers would held liable even for conduct that occurs “outside of the workplace,” and even for conduct committed by “nonemployees” such as customers.

But the very same provisions are found in another bill passed by the Virginia House of Delegates, that is still sitting in a committee of the state senate. So the legislation could still conceivably become law.

In a 20-to-18 vote, the state senate voted on February 5 to send the first harassment bill (SB 1360) back to the Judiciary Committee, where it died on February 6. But the exact same provisions appear to be found in the second harassment bill, HB 2155, which is still alive and sitting in the General Laws committee. Continue reading

Herring Strikes Blow for Emotional Support Animals

Phoebe, the Bacon family emotional support cat, provides companionship and comfort — in sum, helps us maintain a “happier more full life” — during the COVID-19 shut-in.

by James A. Bacon

Attorney General Mark Herring has issued a press release touting his victory in compelling a Pulaski County townhouse community to accommodate a couple with an emotional support animal.

“Virginians with disabilities have the right to live with an assistance animal, especially if that assistance animal helps them live happier, more full lives — assistance animals are not pets and cannot be subject to fees or breed and weight restrictions like other pets can be,” said Herring. “Assistance animals … are often the best way for individuals with debilitating symptoms caused by various mental or physical impairments to substantial improve their quality of life.”

Here are the particulars of the case, as recounted in the press release. The couple, Michael and Charlene Butler, provided “clinical verification” of the need to bring Charlene’s assistance dog to live with them in the Unique Deerfield Village Townhomes Complex. The property managers imposed weight limits and pet deposit fees on the assistance animal. Continue reading

Basic Child Literacy Cannot Be too Much to Ask of Richmond City Public Schools

by James C. Sherlock

Half of Black 4th graders in Richmond public schools couldn’t read in 2019. That is not OK.

It is way past time to demand both better performance and accountability. Clearly neither the city of Richmond nor the Commonwealth has done that effectively.

So I have filed formal complaints with the federal government to see if the Departments that provide federal money to the Richmond City Public School District can establish accountability for how all of that money has been spent.

Jason Kamras currently serves as the Superintendent of Richmond Public Schools (RPS). He has first-rate credentials — National Teacher of the Year in 2005, undergraduate Princeton, masters in education from Harvard. Worked in leadership positions in D.C. Public Schools before coming to Richmond.

He is the highest-paid superintendent in Richmond history at $250,000 annually. His initial three-year contract was slated to expire this summer.  He just received a 4-year extension on a split 6-3 vote by the Richmond School Board.

The performance of Mr. Kamras’ Richmond School District is cataclysmically bad.   Continue reading

The Mythology of Robert E. Lee

By Peter Galuszka

With excellent timing, the former head of the history department at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point has come out with a book about the mythology of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and much of the White “Southern” culture.

Retired U.S. Army Gen. Ty Seidule, a former paratrooper, has deep Virginia roots and his analysis goes right to the heart of the problems plaguing Virginia, Civil War memorabilia, Richmond, Charlottesville, the Virginia Military Institute and more.

He grew up in Alexandria and had ties to the Episcopal prep school where he expanded his desire to be a “Southern” gentleman while worshipping the likes of Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.

Here’s a link to my review of his book in Richmond’s Style Weekly. The Post also reviewed the book this past Sunday.

Looking for a Do-Over – Secretary Qarni, the Fairfax County School Board and the Left’s War on Asian Americans

Virginia Education Secretary Qarni – Why is this man smiling?

by James C. Sherlock

President Biden yesterday signed a couple of executive orders on race.

“We must change now,” the president said. “I know it’s going to take time, but I know we can do it. And I firmly believe the nation is ready to change. But government has to change as well.” 

From the Associated Press:

The orders “disavow discrimination against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community over the coronavirus pandemic.”

“The memorandum highlighting xenophobia against Asian Americans is in large part a reaction” to Donald Trump.

“Large part” indeed. Effectively the AP is saying “nothing else to see here.”

But the AP’s D.C.-based reporters need look no farther than Richmond and Fairfax County to find direct assaults on Asians — by Democrats. Continue reading

Northam’s Good Move: End Executions

The Martinsville Seven

By Peter Galuszka

Governor Ralph Northam will propose legislation to ban executions in the state. The move could end decades of systemic racism in the criminal justice system.

“I’ve strongly about this for a long time,” he was quoted as saying. The bill will be taken up by the General Assembly, which met in its 2021 session today.

If the bill passes, it would make Virginia the only Southern state to ban executions.

According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, 113 executions have been conducted in the state since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed executions to resume in 1976. Virginia’s vigorous efforts to kill those convicted of capital crimes gave it the dishonorable distinction of being No. 2 in the country after Texas which had 570 executions in that time frame.

Historically, African Americans have been executed at rates that exceed their numbers in the general population. Continue reading

Race vs. Class in Education Personal Data Collection – An Alternative

by James C. Sherlock

Earlier I addressed the current method for collecting racial and ethnicity data for civil rights enforcement and found it lacking.

So why do we do it that way? Because we have done it for a long time? The constitutional concerns can’t be wished away, and there are new proofs available in genetic testing databases that the data are wrongly constructed and wrongly answered.

I spent some time in founding and running the nation’s largest military simulation facility in Suffolk, Virginia, in my last assignment for the Navy nearly 30 years ago.

What if we at least test alternatives using modern computer simulation methodologies and see what the results show? Simulations may give better estimates than the current system, or, importantly, show that civil rights concerns may be more efficiently and effectively focused on class rather than race. Continue reading

E Pluribus Unum

by James C. Sherlock

Federal and state executive and legislative branches and the courts make thousands of decisions daily based on race and ethnicity data.

The federal regulations for gathering and reporting those data have been imposed in response to civil rights laws. The iron law of unintended consequences has taken precedence as it often does in such matters.

We know absolutely that those data are wrong: both artificially constructed and inaccurately reported. The working assumption in the drafting of the regulations is that the data will be close enough for government work. Let’s take a look.

Race and ethnic information about educational system participants is required by the federal government from the states, by the states from school districts and institutions of higher education and by those institutions from individuals, all driven by federal regulations.

Data about school staff, teachers and students are being collected at each of those levels and consolidated at each level in reporting. Continue reading