The embattled school board of Virginia’s Loudoun County cut off public comments during a fiery meeting Tuesday as residents traded barbs over new transgender policy proposals. The discussion followed weeks of protests from district parents who oppose some of the measures they have criticized as potential left-wing indoctrination and a violation of parental rights.
The policies affect transgender student rights, privacy, and restroom accommodations and require Loudoun County Public Schools employees to use students’ preferred names or pronouns. An official school board vote on the proposal is not expected until at least Aug. 10. 259 residents signed up to speak during the public comment session Tuesday, and people lined up at the doors early to get seats in the packed auditorium.
After a mother of a transgender student made a swipe at Christian parents in the district, fireworks erupted. The board called for a short recess to let things cool off. Then they unanimously voted to end the public comment if the room erupted again.
The final speaker, Former state Sen. Dick Black, a Republican, criticized the board over its treatment of Cross and allegations that progressive community members had organized a list of their conservative neighbors to harass and publicly shame. The chamber erupted in cheers, prompting the board to vote 9-0 to end public comment for the rest of the meeting.
At least two people were arrested as parents cut off from speaking before the board remained in the room to deliver their prepared remarks to others in the crowd. One of them refused to leave until everyone had an opportunity to speak, and deputies told him that he would be arrested for trespassing if he refused to follow their orders to vacate the room.
A total of 259 people signed up for public comments. Only 51 voices were heard.