How One Virginia County Became The Apex Of The Fight Against Critical Race Theory
People hold up signs during a rally against "critical race theory" (CRT) being taught in schools at the Loudoun County Government center in Leesburg, Virginia on June 12, 2021. - "Are you ready to take back our schools?" Republican activist Patti Menders shouted at a rally opposing anti-racism teaching that critics like her say trains white children to see themselves as "oppressors." "Yes!", answered in unison the hundreds of demonstrators gathered this weekend near Washington to fight against "critical race theory," the latest battleground of America's ongoing culture wars. The term "critical race theory" defines a strand of thought that appeared in American law schools in the late 1970s and which looks at racism as a system, enabled by laws and institutions, rather than at the level of individual prejudices. But critics use it as a catch-all phrase that attacks teachers' efforts to confront dark episodes in American history, including slavery and segregation, as well as to tackle racist stereotypes.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

One Virginia school district has found itself at the eye of the politically correct hurricane as the fight against critical race theory dominates headlines in right-leaning media. 

The fight between parents and Virginia’s Loudoun County Public School (LCPS) district board came to a head on Tuesday night after police arrested at least two parents who refused to leave a public school board meeting. Parents have been embroiled in a nearly year-long pushback against the district for allegedly pushing critical race theory on children — an allegation the district vehemently denies. 

LCPS is far from the only school district in the nation pushing progressive ideology in the classroom. Some of the nation’s most elite private schools, such as Harvard Westlake in Los Angeles and the Dalton School and Spence School in New York City, are peddling this ideology as well. However, the infighting in public schools — which 90 percent of American students attend — is far more telling of what most parents are enduring today. 

The beginning of LCPS’s critical race theory push started before the racial uproar sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Between 2018 and 2020, LCPS spent $422,500 in taxpayer funds on diversity training programs hosted by The Equity Collaborative, a California-based consulting firm. 

Following Floyd’s death, the district re-committed itself to promoting social justice in the classroom and sought out the assistance of Learning for Justice — the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center’s teaching arm — to craft the district’s new curriculum. The proposed lesson plans recommended restructuring history and social studies classes to emphasize slavery as fundamental to American society for students from kindergarten to fifth grade. 

Under direction from Learning for Justice, LCPS’s equity board ordered its school to avoid connecting Read Across America Day with Dr. Seuss. The board claimed that Dr. Seuss’s children’s book contained “racial undertones” that are not suitable for “culturally responsive” learning. 

These curriculum shifts and training seminars were primarily passed through the district’s progressive school board. The board did not publicly announce many of the changes, instead, there was a concerted effort to promote DEI messaging in nearly every facet of the district. 

The board began with crafting a speech code that would have prohibited teachers from criticizing the school board’s racial equity plan. District employees were instructed to be committed to “action-oriented equity practices” in all forms of personal and public speech. The code was hidden instead of a “professional conduct” policy proposal. The speech code was squashed following union blowback. 

With the board’s blessing, individual LCPS classrooms began promoting DEI messaging to students as young as six years old. The district also hired an equity lead, who distributed graphics claiming that Christians are privileged and women, children, and people over the age of 50 experience “oppression.” 

At Guilford Elementary School, teachers were required to undergo an equity presentation that insinuated that Hispanic parents and students are unable to perform in educational settings because they face “immigration,” “deportation threats,” “health concerns,” and more.

In a first-year high school English class, students were allowed to read a book that discussed young adults performing oral sex on one another. The book explores issues such as race, mental illness, sexuality, and media bias, and was taught to honors English students at Stone Bridge High School. 

In March, video footage shows a teacher bullying a student for saying he takes a colorblind approach to observing people. The teacher called a high school student “intentionally coy” for not categorizing two women in a picture by their race. 

The initial pushback against the school board’s equity policies came from parents Scott Mineo, who created the organization Parents Against Critical Theory (PACT), and Ian Prior, who founded Fight For Schools. The duo worked with local reporters to highlight the district’s craze for critical race theory and spoke out at school board meetings.  

Parents who pushed back against critical race theory in Loudon County were met with intense pushback from the “anti-racist” community, including teachers. The Daily Wire reported that a group of current and former teachers compiled a list of parents who disagreed with teaching controversial racial concepts with the stated purpose to “infiltrate” and silence parents’ communications. The “Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County” aimed to publicly expose anti-critical race theory parents. 

An advisory board linked to LCPS demanded that teachers also be dismissed from their positions if they criticize the district’s equity training, even in private feedback surveys.

The same advisory board went after Mineo directly and hounded GoFundMe to yank a fundraising campaign the parent created to fight back against the school board. GoFundMe caved to activist demands and removed Mineo’s fundraiser which had garnered nearly $4,000.

As the insanity and breadth of critical race theory in LCPS grew, so did the parent push back. In March, a group of LCPS parents filed a federal lawsuit against the district’s school board for allegedly “violating students’ free speech rights” and barring them from joining ambassador programs based on immutable characteristics. 

Parents, teachers, and students began speaking up at public school board meetings about the effects of critical race theory on their children. A black mother called the board racist for daring to teach her children that they were oppressed. Eighth-grader Jolene Grover slammed the school board for attempting to allow biological males to be able to undress in locker rooms with biological females. 

A survivor of Mao’s China stunned the LCPS school board with a chilling warning about the way critical race theory indoctrinates students. And a teacher was temporarily suspended for ripping the board over a proposed transgender pronoun policy. 

This all culminated into the arrest of parents who refused to leave a school board meeting. The board voted to silence parents condemning them by suddenly ending the public comment portion of the meeting, which was scheduled to go on for hours. Parents chanted “shame on you” and sang the Star Spangled Banner in protest of the board’s agenda change. 

Virginia’s Democratic politicians are brushing parental pushback under the rug. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe called critical race theory a “right-wing conspiracy” that was “totally made up” by Republicans.

Prior, a parent and attendee at the June 22 board meeting, told The Daily Wire that more and more parents and taxpayers are getting fed up with the school board culminating in recall efforts. 

“Most of the Loudoun County School Board have shown an utter contempt for the opinions and First Amendment rights of students, parents, and teachers,” Prior said. “Last night was just the latest demonstration from the school board that they are far more interested in serving special interest groups than they are in listening to and working with parents to ensure excellence in education.”

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