The Loudoun County School Board will vote on a policy silencing employees who disagree with racial equity practices. The proposal would extend the school’s jurisdiction onto off-campus speech, including social media, speeches, and any written forms of communication.
The new policy would govern employee speech “during and after school or work hours, whether on or off school board property, including the property of any school, office, or facility.”
This proposal then goes on to outline its commitment to “an equitable and inclusive work and educational environment,” which is “the disruption and dismantling of white supremacy, systemic racism, and language and actions motivated by race, religion, country of origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, and/or ability.”
Further down, the proposal adds:
Nothing in this policy or any other policy shall be interpreted as abridging an employee’s First Amendment right to engage in protect speech, however based upon an individualized inquiry, speech, including not limited to via social media, on matters of public concern, may be outweighed by the school division’s interest… [which includes] achieving consistent application of the Board’s and Superintendent’s stated mission, goals, policies and directives, including protected class equity, racial equity, and the goal to root out systemic racism.
Geary Higgins, Loudoun County Board Supervisor and previous Loudoun School Board member, told the The Virginia Star that the policy is the unfortunate result of people’s elected choices.
“We elected a bunch of people that are extremely liberal in the last round of elections. We’re tearing down statues, we’re tearing down history. But elections have consequences, and I hope people realize they’re not doing any favors with the press ahead of elections,” stated Higgins. “How does this not run afoul of the first amendment? I perhaps understand on the job site not delving into politics, but how can you not have alternative viewpoints discussed off school property? You’re not gonna allow that either?”
Several weeks ago, Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) apologized for its segregation in the past and its hopes for future reparations. LCPS has also spent $422,500 over the past two years training its staff on critical race theory.
Higgins shared that community members are planning to hold a rally protesting the policy on the same day as the board vote.
The board will vote on the policy October 13th.
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