by Kerry Dougherty
Well, THAT wasn’t a good look.
Loudoun County sheriff’s deputies broke up a boisterous school board meeting Tuesday night, handcuffing and arresting one parent just as the assembled crowd finished singing “The Star Spangled Banner.”
This came after the school superintendent abruptly ended a public meeting and declared it an “unlawful assembly.”
Not sure the school chief has that authority. A Virginia judge may ultimately decide.
Let’s back up. Loudoun County parents are in the vanguard of the anti-Critical Race Theory movement in the U.S. They’ve started a recall petition to remove far-left school board members whom they say are bringing CRT into Loudoun teacher training. They are also opposed to a new policy toward transgendered students that is under consideration by the board.
One Loudoun teacher was disciplined recently — and then reinstated by court order — for declaring that he would not address boys who identify as girls with feminine pronouns.
Tanner Cross refused to “affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa because it’s against my religion.”
Uh-oh. Nothing will get you canceled by the woke crowd quicker than insisting that an XX chromosome makes one female, an XY chromosome makes one male.
Tuesday’s meeting was supposed to be a forum for the public to weigh in. A total of about 259 people had signed up to speak. There were impassioned speeches on both sides of the issues and the audience periodically reacted with cheers or chants.
But when the crowd applauded loudly at the remarks of retired State Sen. Dick Black, his mic was cut off and the meeting was abruptly adjourned.
“It’s absurd and immoral for teachers to call boys girls and girls boys,” Black had said. “This board has a dark history of suppressing free speech.”
With that, the School Board signaled it had enough of the public. They retreated.
Since the meeting was scheduled to last at least another hour some of those present attempted to deliver their prepared statements anyway.
Deputies who’d been standing by broke up the crowd.
Look, democracy is messy. Elected officials need to steel themselves for dissension from time to time and learn to listen to opposing points of view. Even when those delivering the messages are emotional and the crowd is loud.
These were not insurrectionists filling the school board meeting. They were parents and grandparents who care deeply about Loudoun’s schools and the kids who attend them.
Fact is, many American parents are fed up with public education right now. They watched public school teachers refuse to return to their classrooms for a year for fear of COVID-19, while their counterparts in private schools went to work and kept their students on track.
Adding to the frustration of many parents is an awareness that Critical Race Theory isn’t just an academic exercise. Elements of this controversial philosophy are already included in teacher training in many places including Virginia Beach and Loudoun. Sprinkle in new rules that could have biological boys in the girls’ locker rooms and you’ve got sizzling topics.
Frankly, if the Loudoun County School Board — or any other elected body — isn’t interested in what the people have to say, they should find another line of work.
Stifling speech – -which includes applause and chanting, by the way — is the wrong way to go.
Worse, it shows an appalling lack of respect for the First Amendment.
This column is republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed & Unedited.