by The Republican Standard staff
After a two-day trial, Judge Fleming of the Loudoun County Circuit Court acquitted Jon Tigges of a criminal misdemeanor charge of trespassing when he was arrested at the June 22, 2021 Loudoun School Board meeting for remaining in the meeting room to exercise his First Amendment rights after the former Superintendent, Scott Ziegler, demanded that a packed room of parents leave the building. The Founding Freedoms Law Center (FFLC), the legal arm of The Family Foundation, represented Mr. Tigges, along with Chris Kachouroff of McSweeney, Cynkar & Kachouroff.
Mr. Tigges was one of over 700 citizens who showed up to the June 22 School Board meeting to express their concerns on a variety of issues including transgender policy 8040, COVID mandates, critical race theory, and the recent firing of teacher Tanner Cross. Around 250 people signed up to speak, but the Board ended public comment abruptly after just 50 speakers and exited the room for a temporary recess.
During the recess, Mr. Tigges encouraged those who were denied their opportunity to speak to come to the front of the seating area to continue providing their comments for everyone to hear. Soon after and without any prior warnings, then-Superintendent Scott Ziegler announced that the gathering was an “unlawful assembly” and anyone who did not leave the room immediately would be subject to arrest. When Mr. Tigges insisted that he had a right to be in the room and explained that he would not leave, he was arrested and charged with criminal trespassing. Mr. Tigges was the second person arrested in the room while the Board had recessed. The other was Scott Smith, whose daughter was sexually assaulted in the school bathroom by a male.
Last week, Judge Fleming held that the Commonwealth had not shown that anyone other than the School Board had authority to remove people from the public meeting room. He also found that Mr. Tigges had successfully pled an affirmative defense of acting in good faith in believing he was in the room lawfully. Because of this, the judge did not address the First Amendment Constitutional claims of free speech, protest, and assembly. Continue reading
by Kathleen Smith
Earlier this month, the special grand jury’s findings in the Circuit Court of Loudoun County were released to the public. The special grand jury had been impaneled by Commonwealth’s Attorney General Jason Miyares to investigate accusations regarding Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) and its handling of a student disciplinary case. After reading the report, it is clear there was a significant lack of leadership and communication at LCPS.
According to its website, Loudoun County Public Schools employs nearly 13,000 people. That large number says a lot about the size of the communication problem evidenced in the report. In comparison, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is the largest sheriff’s office in Virginia and it employs about 800 people at six locations. The Loudoun County Social Services offices employ 2,227 people.
With an organization the size of LCPS, there are going to be barriers to communication. Those barriers exist between every building, every floor, every office, and every department. That is normal. So, what does it take to make communication work within an organization of that size?
Leadership matters. Bridging matters.
Consider that 83,000 students benefit from the services of Loudoun County Public Schools. In addition, realize that many of these same 83,000 students (and their families) may also need social services, court services, and law enforcement services at any given point in time or on an ongoing basis throughout the school year. When that happens, there needs to be communication between LCPS officials and the other services involved.
The report is very clear: that communication did not happen. Continue reading
by DJ Rippert
Author’s note. There is a story circulating about a private Facebook group focused on Loudoun County schools that is keeping an “enemies list” of people opposed to Critical Race Theory (CRT) as it is being used in the Loudoun County Public Schools. The members of the group reportedly include teachers, parents, school board members and at least one prosecutor. Some within the group have reportedly gone so far as to seek hackers to compromise the websites of groups opposing CRT in Loudoun County.
I initially picked up this story from an article in The Bull Elephant written by Jeanine Martin. The story was titled, “Loudoun County teachers plot war of harassment against parents and others who disagree with racial curriculum.” That article, published Tuesday, relied on information from Townhall.com and The Daily Wire. I was not sufficiently confident in those sources to either ask for permission to repost Ms. Martin’s article or to write my own summary. However, the story continued to gain traction yesterday and today in the conservative media Fox News and The Washington Times have picked up on the story. Finally, there is a direct quote attributed to a spokesman for the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (Kraig Troxell) stating, “The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is aware of the situation and the information has been forwarded to our criminal investigations division to review the matter.” Given that, I believe there is something going on that merits the attention of Bacon’s Rebellion readers. Continue reading