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School Board Meeting Cut Short, Parent Arrested after Fiery Speech on CRT, Transgender Policy

Amy Jahr sings The Star Spangled Banner after a Loudoun County School Board meeting was halted by the school board because the crowd refused to quiet down, in Ashburn, Va., June 22, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

Police declared an unlawful assembly at a Loudoun County, Va., School Board meeting Tuesday after residents clashed regarding the district’s proposed policies on transgender students.

The proposal in question, known as policy proposal 8040, would require teachers to use a child’s preferred gender pronouns. The board closed public comments at its meeting on Tuesday night after multiple interruptions by residents in the crowd.

After several speakers voiced support for the proposal, a woman who said she was the mother of a transgender student was booed after saying “hate” was “dripping from the followers of Jesus in this room.” The board called a five-minute recess and said public comments would be closed if any additional disturbance were made.

After other residents spoke both in favor and against the proposal, former state senator Dick Black criticized the board over its alleged backing of the policies as well as critical race theory. Residents cheered Black, prompting the board to close public comments by a vote of 9-0.

Parents began singing the “Star-Spangled Banner” after comments were closed.

Police then declared an unlawful assembly, arresting one person and issuing a summons for trespassing to another.

The controversy in the district began when an elementary-school teacher, Byron “Tanner” Cross, objected to the proposal to refer to students by their preferred pronouns, saying doing so would be “against my religion.” Cross was placed on paid leave shortly after his comments, and he sued the district to be reinstated. A Virginia district judge granted a temporary injunction to Cross, ordering the district to reinstate him.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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