Virginia's Loudon County School Board decided to abruptly cut off all public comments during a meeting Tuesday night after residents and parents showed up to complain about the new transgender and critical race theory policy proposals. The outrage is also fueled by the board's decision to appeal a court order to reinstate a teacher who spoke out against the suggested trans policy.
As CBN News reported last week, the fate of a northern Virginia elementary teacher's job remains unclear after Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) said it would appeal a judge's order to reinstate the educator.
Bryon "Tanner" Cross, who teaches physical education, was put on paid administrative leave after telling the school board he won't address children by preferred pronouns because it violates his Christian beliefs.
IMAGE: Signs in the parking lot placed by parents and residents. All images credit: Tara Mergener, CBN News
As CBN's Faithwire previously reported, Cross was also suspended for saying during an LCPS board meeting that he wouldn't "lie" by telling students "that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa."
District Judge James Plowman issued a temporary injunction last Tuesday defending Cross, stating that the teacher was exercising his right to free speech.
IMAGE: Standing-room-only crowd of interested parents, residents, and students outside the meeting room.
In a statement, LCPS said it "respectfully disagrees" with the court's decision to issue the injunction and will appeal the ruling.
Loudoun County is now ground zero for a growing number of national debates on controversial school policies.
At the showdown with hundreds of parents on Tuesday night, Loudoun County parent Ryan Bomberger said, "The reality is LCPS is not parent-led education. It's government-forced indoctrination."
School Board Decides to Abruptly End Meeting After Being Criticized by Residents
Almost 260 residents had signed up to address the board on Tuesday night. However, the meeting started to become unruly after a parent who identified herself as the mother of a transgender Loudoun student, was booed after saying "hate" was "dripping from the followers of Jesus in this room," according to Fox News. The board then voted to have a five-minute recess to let tempers settle down.
When the board returned, they announced all public comments would end if there were any more outbursts.
After the board heard from several parents who criticized their actions, former Virginia state Republican Sen. Dick Black stepped up to the microphone.
Black introduced himself to the board and then said: "You retaliated against Tanner Cross by yanking him from teaching for addressing a public hearing of this board. The judge ordered you to reinstate Mr. Cross, because if his comments were not protected speech, then free speech does not exist at all. It's absurd and immoral for teachers to call boys 'girls' and girls 'boys,'" he continued. "You're making teachers lie to students. And even kids know that it's wrong."
"This board has a dark history of suppressing free speech," he continued. "They caught you red-handed with an enemies list to punish opponents of Critical Race Theory. You're teaching children to hate others because of their skin color. And you're forcing them to lie about other kids' gender. I am disgusted by your bigotry and your depravity."
As the video below shows, the school board cut off the microphone before Black could finish. Those in attendance rose to their feet and applauded Black's words as the board then cut off all public comments.
The Loudoun County School Board got wrecked so hard by former Virginia State senator @SenRichardBlack that they had to shut down their public hearing.
— For America (@ForAmerica) June 22, 2021
"The LCPS shut down the public input after the audience erupted in applause at the end of my speech," Black added on Twitter. "Hundreds of parents continued to rally for hours to send the message that these CRT policies are racist. Parents and teachers, stand up for your children now."
IMAGE: Parents protest the school board's support for Critical Race Theory with a sign saying: "Stop teaching our kids to hate."
Black also included a video of what happened after his speech, showing parents singing the Star-Spangled Banner after the board ended the meeting and filed out of the room.
NBC News Washington reported the school board bylaws adopted in 1979 and last reviewed in 2016 say the board "welcomes comments from the public and believes strong community engagement is important to a successful school system." But "the civility, decorum, and respect for the functioning and dignity of the School Board shall be maintained at all times," the bylaws say. "When reasonable," the chair can warn a speaker of a breach of the rules, end speaking privileges or "take other action."
After the school board left, the Loudon County Sheriff's Office declared the meeting an unlawful assembly and asked everyone to leave. One man was arrested, another man was ticketed for trespassing and another was hurt, according to law enforcement officials and NBC.