What is Policy 8040? School board meeting over new trans rules ends in parents' arrests
Two parents were arrested at a Loudoun County School Board meeting in Virginia on Tuesday, June 22, as residents debated controversial proposals with respect to transgender policy and critical race theory.
Nearly 260 residents signed up to speak during the public comment session before the debates grew rancorous and resulted in the arrests of at least two men for refusing to leave the building. According to RealClearPolitics, the men were protesting the new proposals.
As school district officials planned to make schools more inclusive for transgender students, parents debated a draft of the proposed Policy 8040 on restrooms that requires students to be "allowed to use the facility that corresponds to their gender identity" - something that did not sit well with traditional parents present at the meeting.
The comments reportedly went smoothly during the first six speakers, until a seventh speaker was booed for allegedly insulting Christian parents in the district who believed the policy went against their religious beliefs, Fox News reported.
The speaker in question, who identified herself as the mother of a trans student, said "hate" was "dripping from the followers of Jesus in this room." This sparked an uproar, prompting the board to call a five-minute recess for the parents to calm down.
Following the recess, board chair Brenda Sheridan warned residents that members of the board had decided to end the public comment session if the room became disruptive again. "The board is here to hear from everyone," she said. "We started our meeting early because we knew we would have a large crowd and we had a large agenda. We ask again that you respect each other, and everyone is allowed to speak." Parents were reportedly also protesting the board's recent moves to promote critical race theory, which they likened to racist indoctrination.
Several public and private schools across the United States have incorporated CRT into their curriculum over the past year, sparking a nationwide debate on its validity in which Loudon County has "emerged as a flashpoint," according to the Daily Mail.
According to Texas A&M University professor Tommy Curry, the critical race theory asserts that "institutions are inherently racist and that race itself is a socially constructed concept that is used by White people to further their economic and political interests at the expense of people of color."
One parent at Tuesday's meeting urged board members who were facing a recall effort to resign and save taxpayers some money. Meanwhile, others lashed out at a district official who reportedly "made threatening Internet searches on a district smartphone." After the 51st parent was heard, the board unanimously voted to end the public comment. This was followed by loud chants of 'Shame on you!' directed at the board, per the newspaper.
According to Fox News, some parents demanded that the board members resign, while others sang The Star-Spangled Banner in defiance. Police were called, and one of the men who refused to leave was issued a trespassing summons and released. Meanwhile, a second parent was arrested for "acting disorderly and displaying aggressive behavior towards another attendee," according to a spokesperson for the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office.
"A second adult male was acting disorderly and displayed aggressive behavior towards another attendee," the spokesperson told Fox News. "A deputy intervened and the subject continued to be disorderly with the deputy. LCSO Deputies attempted to take him into custody and he physically resisted arrest. The subject was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest."