One person arrested and another injured when a Virginia school board meeting descended into chaos about critical race theory and trans students

Loudon County Public Schools Building
The building in Ashburn, Virginia. Loudon County Public Schools
  • One person was injured and another was arrested at a Virginia school board meeting Tuesday.
  • Parents came to the meeting to protest the teaching of race issues in schools, Reuters reported.
  • The meeting descended into chaos, causing the board to vote to suspended public comments.
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A meeting a Virginia school board Tuesday descended into chaos when one person was ticketed, another was arrested, and another was injured after school board officials decided to suspend the public comment portion of the meeting.

Hundreds of people descended on the Loudon County Public Schools Board meeting in Ashburn, Virginia, on Tuesday, according to a report from Reuters. They flocked to the end-of-the-year board meeting to voice their concerns about the district’s proposed policy on transgender students and to speak out against teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT).

There were no plans to discuss CRT at the board meeting, according to Reuters reporter Gabriella Borter who reported from the meeting Tuesday evening.

Conservatives across the US have increasingly railed against CRT by proposing and passing legislation that prohibits teaching it. The theory centers around the idea that the legacies of slavery and segregation continue to play a role in the present-day US.

According to the American Bar Association, critical race theory was created by legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw and “critiques how the social construction of race and institutionalized racism perpetuate a racial caste system that relegates people of color to the bottom tiers,” according to the ABA.

Critics of anti-CRT bills say that there is little evidence that schools are teaching students lessons based on the ideas of CRT and such criticism stifles honest discussion about US history and racism.

-Gabriella Borter (@gabriellaborter) June 22, 2021

Outside the meeting Tuesday, parents held signs reading “We the Parents Stand up!” while they protested ideas like “critical race theory” and “diversity and inclusion,” according to a video shared on Twitter by Borter.

Others came to protest the district’s proposed policy regarding transgender students. The policy requires that trans students be “treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, transgender status, or gender identity/expression,” according to NBC Washington. It also allows students to use the restroom that aligns with their identity and play sports with peers of the same gender.

The district made headlines in May when it suspended an elementary school gym teacher who said he wouldn’t follow a proposed policy requiring he refer to students by their preferred gender pronouns because it violated his religious beliefs. A judge later ordered the district to reinstate the teacher.

Another group of demonstrators, meanwhile, acted as counter-protesters and expressed support for the district’s recent policy change to become more inclusive to transgender students, the report said.

At the meeting Tuesday, School Board Chair Brenda Sheridan spoke out in favor of equity for LGBTQ students.

“We will not back down from fighting for the rights of our students and continuing our focus on equity,” she said, according to NBC Washington. “We will continue to work towards making Virginia, specifically Loudoun, the best place to raise a family.”

But the meeting Tuesday became even more chaotic when the school board unanimously voted to suspended public comment at the meeting after the crowd became unruly, according to NBC Washington. More than 200 people had requested to make a public comment Borter reported via Twitter.

A 48-year-old man from Leesburg, Virginia, was charged with disorderly conduct and obstruction of justice, according to NBC Washington. He physically threatened someone, was “disorderly” with a sheriff’s deputy, and resisted arrest, the local sheriff’s office told the outlet.

The sheriff’s office said another man received a summons for trespassing because he did not leave after school board officials told attendees to vacate the room.

A third person was injured, law enforcement said, according to the report.