Yesterday, ADF clients Monica Gill, Kimberly Wright, and Tanner Cross along with their attorney, Tyson Langhofer, spoke at a rally held outside the Loudoun County School Board building to condemn compelled speech policies in public schools.
The rally, headlined by special guest Matt Walsh, featured a dozen speakers from the Loudoun community and beyond. Those speakers resolutely stood together with hundreds of citizens to signal their deep concern about the well-being of public school children and their opposition to the overreach of the LCPS board.
The board’s controversial policy mandates that all public school teachers and students deny truths about what it means to be male and female by requiring them to use pronouns, upon request by any student, that do not correspond with that student’s sex. That coercive mandate compels many to violate their conscience.
The rally focused on defending the children in Loudoun County Public Schools and keeping them from being used as pawns in a political debate over unsettled science.
ADF attorney Tyson Langhofer had this to say:
"In America, our Constitution protects the right of every citizen to speak freely without the fear of being punished for what we believe. These rights allow us to seriously debate the issues that affect our lives and our communities. But Loudoun County Public Schools is using Policy 8040 to silence that debate and force teachers to promote ideologies that are harmful to their students."
Three teachers, Monica Gill, Tanner Cross, and Kimberly Wright, who are plaintiffs in ADF’s lawsuit against Loudoun County Public Schools, also spoke at the event.
Kimberly noted, "Children deserve to receive the best care we can provide to them, but LCPS is using our kids as pawns in a political debate, instead of doing what is best for them." She urged that, "Children should receive compassionate and individualized care, not the ideologically driven one-size-fits-all approach [that] Loudoun County mandates."
Monica added that "For my students confronting sensitive, difficult, and complicated questions about who they are, my goal is to give my students the love, understanding, and emotional support they need. To do that, I must always be honest with my students and do what’s best for them."
She concluded, "Policy 8040 violates my faith, my obligation to teach evidence-based truth, and my commitment to provide the very best to my students. That’s why I’ve joined a lawsuit challenging policy 8040.”
Alliance Defending Freedom continues to fight unconstitutional policies all over the United States, not just in Loudoun County. The Loudoun County School Board, as well as other school boards across the country, continue to obstinately deny their teachers their constitutional right to freedom of speech and conscience.
Both the Virginia Constitution as well as the U.S. Constitution guarantee the freedom to speak as well as the freedom to not speak. Policy 8040 clearly violates these teachers’ constitutional freedoms. It is wrong to coerce teachers into speaking messages that go against their deeply held religious beliefs, conscience, and basic biology.
And the Loudoun County School Board should hear and heed the voices of parents, teachers, and other citizens and suspend this unlawful, radical policy.
And this is something we should all be able to get behind. Because it’s not just those in Loudoun County whose freedoms are at risk if school officials are allowed to compel speech. It’s all of us.
Attorney General Garland’s memo is a severe government overreach that chills the constitutionally protected speech of those who rightly object to ill-considered policies that harm our nation’s school children.
Parents expressing concern over CRT, gender theory, and COVID-related mandates in public schools do not qualify as “domestic terrorists.”
Even when we disagree, we need to support the right of others to live and work consistently with their beliefs without fear of losing their job.