Recently, a Loudoun County School Board meeting began with the swearing in of a new superintendent.
There was nothing surprising or unexpected about the oath of office, in and of itself. After all, it’s the same oath that all of Virginia’s elected officials take —including all of the members of the school board.
“Do you...solemnly swear or affirm that you will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia and that you will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon you as superintendent for Loudoun County Public Schools according to the best of your ability, so help you God?”
What was really surprising was how certain members of the Loudoun County School Board stood beside the new superintendent with straight faces.
After all, these are the same school officials that just a few months ago suspended a teacher for speaking out against a proposed policy during the public comment section of a school board meeting. And it’s the same school board that, on August 11, passed this policy—which forces faculty and students to speak messages that violate their beliefs.
Does that sound to you like the school board members are living up to their oath?
I can tell you with certainty that they aren't.
In May, a teacher respectfully voiced his objections to a proposed school policy during the public comment period of a school board meeting. The policy requires all faculty and students, regardless of their beliefs about biological sex and gender, to use the pronouns that students specify regardless of their biological sex.
Less than 48 hours later, school officials suspended the teacher for his speech.
That’s why Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit against Loudoun County Public Schools. And, thankfully, the court ruled that the school district had likely violated the Virginia Constitution and ordered the school to reinstate this teacher while the lawsuit continues.
Still, the school board voted to pass the policy, ignoring the increasingly concerned voices of its teachers and community members.
At the board’s August 11 meeting, several teachers expressed their concerns over the policy—with one teacher even publicly resigning. Here’s what just a few of them had to say.
1. “I have had transgender students in the past, we have loved and respected each other, and that can go on without having to compel others to bow down.”
2. “The policy requiring teachers to use gender pronouns based on identity rather than sex without any substantiating evidence hurts teachers by forcing them to tell a child something that they believe is not true. And it hurts children by having a condition that will otherwise go away over time prolonged through external reinforcement and repetition. That violates my faith and my commitment to love the kids entrusted to my care.”
3. “This summer I have struggled with the idea of returning to school knowing that I will be working yet again with a school division that—despite its shiny tech and flashy salary—promotes political ideologies that do not square with who I am as a believer in Christ.”
Since this troubling policy has passed, ADF attorneys have filed updated documents with the court on behalf of three LCPS teachers who wish to challenge the policy.
The school district can’t use teachers as mouthpieces to promote a political agenda that violates their beliefs. But that is exactly what it is happening in Loudoun County Public Schools. First, LCPS officials punished a teacher for exercising his constitutional right to respectfully object to the proposed policy.
Now, the school district is demanding that all teachers toe the ideological line or face the consequences.
But these teachers aren’t backing down. They’re holding the school board members accountable to their oath to uphold the Constitution. They’re remaining true to their commitment to do what is best for the students they serve.
And they know this new policy doesn’t fit the bill.
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