2 arrested at Virginia school board meeting on critical race theory, transgender policy

Two people were arrested following a local school board meeting in Virginia that turned unruly, with officials shutting down a public comment period during a heated debate about critical race theory and policy on transgender students. 

Police in Loudoun County said one person was accused of trespassing and issued a summons after refusing to leave school board property and another was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest on Tuesday, local TV station WJLA reported

School officials ended public commenting after concerned parents yelled over speakers and protesters disrupted the proceedings. 

At issue was the school district’s curriculum relative to critical race theory, a hot-button issue that has sparked controversy in several districts around the country. The curriculum, which has been implemented in some districts, teaches American history with a broader context about the role slavery and systemic racism have played in society.

Critics say teaching history through a race-based lens is overly divisive and inappropriate for children.

Concerned parents in Loudoun were also expressing outrage over a new policy that would outline and protect the rights of transgender students in the district. 

The policy calls for all students to be “treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, transgender status, or gender identity/expression,” according to NBC4 Washington. 

“The Loudoun County School Board ended the public comment section of its June 22 meeting on a unanimous vote after Chair Brenda L. Sheridan repeatedly warned the attendees in the Board Room that loud public demonstrations violated the decorum of the meeting,” the board said in a statement. “Sheridan had previously, and repeatedly, warned the public after introducing the public comment section with a reading of [the policy]. Earlier the chair recessed the School Board meeting for five minutes due to disruptions before the unanimous vote to end public comment was taken.”

The district’s policy toward transgender students earned national attention earlier this month after an elementary school teacher was suspended for refusing to abide by those rules, saying they violated his religious beliefs. 

A judge later ordered that the teacher be reinstated.  

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