Right-wing group brags of stopping Virginia school board meeting on transgender rights

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The group Stand Up Virginia has staged several protests against the Loudoun County Public Schools.

A right-wing group is bragging about disrupting a meeting of the Loudoun County, Virginia, School Board on Tuesday night that had convened to discuss inclusivity.

One man was arrested, another person was injured, and one man was ticketed for trespassing as the school board heard public comments on a draft policy for the Loudoun County Public Schools that would mandate "All students shall be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, transgender status, or gender identity/expression. ... LCPS staff shall allow gender-expansive or transgender students to use their chosen name and gender pronouns that reflect their gender identity without any substantiating evidence."

The policy would require trans students to be addressed by the name and gender pronoun "that correspond to their gender identity."

Brenda Tillett, the president of a group called Stand Up Virginia, posted a video after the meeting to take credit for the disruption. Tillett is also the head of the group Bolster the Blue, which protests against what it calls "progressive reform measures ... to increase awareness about efforts to dismantle safety in our communities and country" in response to police violence.

"We were at [the meeting] in droves, in full force" Tillett said, adding, "Stand Up Virginia joined with several other organizations, we put the word out, and we were able to pack the entire Loudoun County school board room with supporters of our values that we represent for our families in Virginia."

Tillett praised the Republican parties of Loudoun and Fairfax counties for bringing in attendees.

During the meeting on Tuesday night, the school board voted to cut off the public comment segment of the proceedings after a series of disruptions. Sheriff's deputies arrested one man for behaving in an aggressive manner toward another attendee; they said he became disorderly when they tried to hold him back.

Video from the event shows people holding up "Stand Up Virginia" signs and booing the decision to cut off comment.

Despite the disruption, the school board's chair, Brenda Sheridan, said it would continue to work for equity.

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

Stand Up Virginia has been behind other recent protests at school board meetings in Loudoun Country against transgender inclusion and the purported addition of what it calls "critical race theory" to the school curriculum.

Scott Ziegler, the interim superintendent of Loudoun County Public Schools, has repeatedly made clear that "critical race theory" is not being taught to children at the K-12 level.

Republicans have been using the term, which refers to the academic study of systemic racism in the United States, in pushing the claim that an un-American, racially divisive form of liberal propaganda is being forced onto school-aged children.

The false claim is aimed at motivating voters to support Republican candidates. Fox News has aired hundreds of mentions of the term.

Republicans continue to protest the affirmation of transgender rights as Republican-led state legislatures have introduced and passed bans on transgender girls participating on school sports teams of their gender.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.