In response to a petition calling for the ban of hate speech at school board meetings, parents in the county of Loudoun have spoken out against the proposal. They criticized the officials for their handling of a case of sexual assault.
The petition, which has been signed by hundreds of residents, was started by Andrew Pihonak, a 19-year-old resident of the county. He said that he wanted to ban hate speech in the meetings of the school board after a man referred to homosexuality as immoral and a violent Bible verse was read during a public comment period.
Parents who attended the meeting to voice their concerns about the school board's mishandling of a sexual assault case were outraged by the incident. They demanded an investigation into the matter after a special grand jury revealed that the district failed to notify the community about the incidents.
According to Colin Donniger, a parent from the county, the petition misrepresents the actions of the parents who attended the December 13 school board meeting.
Donniger claims that the petition is misleading due to the statements made during the meeting. He said that the parents spoke out against the school administration's failure to address the issue. There was also very little discussion about gender dysphoria, as the perpetrator of the incident was reportedly a male who had access to the women's restroom.
According to Scott Mineo, a local resident, the majority of the parents who spoke during the meeting were only talking about the administration's mistakes instead of the LGBTQ community.
Mineo noted that the actions of the school board and the administration were not only shocking but also unconscionable. He said that the issues that the parents discussed during the meeting had nothing to do with the LGBTQ community. Instead, they were focused on the administration's failure to protect the students.
The parents of the county demanded the resignations of the school board members following the release of a report by a special grand jury. It revealed that the board failed to inform the community about multiple sexual assault cases that occurred in the school system.
Scott Ziegler, the former superintendent of the county's public schools, was indicted on various charges. He was charged with three counts of misdemeanors, while Wayde Byard, the information officer of the school system, was charged with felony perjury.
The petition, which has over 900 signatures, stated that the actions of the school board members had led to the bullying and killing of the LGBTQ community. It demanded that the policy of the school board be changed so that the public comment period on hate speech can be concluded.
An advocacy group called 4 All, which works toward equity in the community, has also endorsed the petition. According to the group, the petition should be protected for all students.
According to Meredith Ray, a member of the group, the actions taken by the school board have crossed a line. She noted that the community has been targeted by the board members. She said that the speaker who delivered the speech during the meeting made the audience feel scared.
The petition was also based on the comments made by Mark Winn, a local resident. He said that the school should focus on teaching language and math.
During the meeting on Dec. 13, Mark Winn stated that the behaviors exhibited by the LGBTQ community should not be taught in the schools. He also suggested that the millstone be thrown into the lake as a punishment for anyone who causes a student to fall.
According to Elicia Brand-Leudemann, a parent from the county and the founder of the Army of Parents, the comment made by Mark Winn was misconstrued as a condemnation of the LGBTQ community. Instead, it was a reference to a Bible verse. The concern of the parents in the county is the safety of their children.
According to Brand-Leudemann, the comment was used to describe the actions of the school board, as well as the lack of accountability from them. The group demanded the resignations of the entire board, as well as the administration.
Here are signs lining the parking lot outside of the the Loudoun County School Board meeting.
The school board will be addressing the recent grand jury report which concluded that the public school district mishandled several sexual assault cases involving students.@DailyCaller pic.twitter.com/S7Wlbaub9Y
— Reagan Reese (@reaganreese_) December 13, 2022
According to Xi Van Fleet, a survivor of the Mao's Cultural Revolution and a former parent from the county, the petition could have detrimental effects.
Van Fleet noted that it was difficult to define what hate speech was due to the complexity of the issue. He also reminded the young people who signed the petition about the dangers of bullying and killing due to the suppression of free speech. During the Cultural Revolution, he said that people who criticized Mao Zedong were persecuted and killed.
Pihonak and the school board of the county did not respond to the DCNF's request for comment.
The preceding is a summary of an article that originally appeared on Daily Caller.