Two Groups Emerge From The Debates About LCPS

With the new governor making education a priority on day one, it has continued fueling debates in Loudoun County.



Two opposing groups are leading the parent charge in Loudoun County.

On January 15, Glenn Youngkin was sworn in as the 74th Governor of Virginia, marking the day with 11 executive orders. Amongst them is a particular focus on Virginia’s school system, including the end of critical race theory and other divisive concepts in the classroom, the removal of mask mandates, and an investigation into LCPS’ handling of the sexual assault cases—all of which have been at the epicenter of local issues plaguing the ongoing school year. 

Public outcry also became increasingly angry over the past few months as LCPS faced two sexual assault cases at separate schools, so much so that Youngkin’s Executive Order Number Four launched an investigation into this “wrongdoing in Loudoun County.” Although certainly disturbing, the attention garnered from this event fueled further discussion of critical race theory and Policy 8040, amongst other controversies. 

At school board meetings, parents, teachers, and even non-Loudoun County residents have come to voice their opinions and concerns regarding the policies and ongoing actions taken by the school board. Oftentimes, these periods of public comment result in enraged individuals fighting, screaming, and threatening school board members. A student representative from Park View was even verbally harassed and pushed to tears while appreciating the school board’s continuation of the mask mandate at a recent meeting on January 25. 

Additionally, as these issues have stark contrasting ideas and goals, two groups have emerged with goals to influence school board policy: Loudoun 4 All and Fight for Schools

Loudoun 4 All, an advocacy group of parents within Loudoun County, seeks to initiate policies and provide equity for all voices impacted—not only in LCPS, but in the entire county. “[We are] parents around Loudoun County that saw over the past year, a lot of groups funded by outside money [and] creating problems in the community and… against some of our more vulnerable students. We decided that we should try to do what we can and start pushing back against this misinformation,” said Todd Kaufmann, Loudoun 4 All board member. 

On the other side, Fight for Schools was created due to disappointment with the school board’s state of affairs. “[We have] had two missions: the first was getting involved in school board races, [and] we started the removal petitions, because from our perspective, they had neglected their duty to maintain the trust of their constituents,” said Ian Prior, President and Executive Director of Fight for Schools. 

One of the most dividing issues of the county remains the controversy behind critical race theory, but what does CRT actually mean? Across the county, including at school board meetings and within these activist groups, loose definitions are thrown around that don’t realistically convey LCPS curriculum. Not officially taught in LCPS, this concept states “that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies.” 

However, a majority of students polled about the existence and implementation of CRT in Loudoun County either believed in the premise or could not articulate the definition, so how could it possibly be taught in the classroom? 

Supporting critical race theory in LCPS, Loudoun 4 All argues that there is an integral importance of teaching the true history of America and where the country has come short. “History should be uncomfortable. At times, it should give us all sorts of feelings and we should understand what has happened. Without being uncomfortable, you don’t grow, and [taking out] anything that makes [them] uncomfortable is a disservice to our students,” Rasha Saad, Loudoun 4 All board member, said.  

Oppositely, Fight for Schools strongly desires to rid the school system of any CRT-based ideology. “The issue I have is not necessarily that you’re teaching [those things], but that you’re teaching that the very systems of our country, our language, our traditions are all systemically racist,” Prior described. “You can teach history—the good, the bad, and the ugly—without saying that the foundation of this constitutional republic is systemically racist.” 

Dominion High School freshman Olivia Columbel said, “We definitely learn about racism [at school], but I don’t think I personally have ever learned about anything like Critical Race Theory.”  

It was even suggested by many parents at LCPS school board meetings that students were purposefully made to feel guilty for their race and the actions of their ancestors. However, Riverside sophomore Belinda Nyame said, “I don’t understand how factual events would invoke guilt in white students. People are just mad at history.” 

The immense attention, hatred, and focus on Loudoun County has been fueled by outside groups, politicians, and parents in our county, but most of the time, doesn’t account for the students. At many of the school board meetings with public comment, the majority of voices heard are not students—those who are actually impacted by the school system. 

“The attention I have heard of at the school board meeting has been crazy. I don’t understand why parents get so mad and resort to screaming and threatening others,” Potomac Falls sophomore Brendan Franklin said. 

Julia Widding, a junior at Broad Run, said, “I think [the parent perspectives and input at the school board] aren’t necessarily accurate. Parents have a say in their kids’ schooling, but ultimately, the students’ opinions are the only accurate reflections of [their] own thoughts.” 

Just last week, the Governor pushed through SB 7, mandating that masks are no longer enforced in schools K-12. Initially LCPS was going to make masks optional February 22 but after three parents sued and an immediate injunction was granted, masks became optional on February 17. What many adults portrayed as divisive, it has gone without incident at Dominion as students have respected their peers choices

The saga continues as these executive orders and mask regulation fuel the fires once again. Due to their persistence and volume, national attention from Fox News’ cameras have continued to capture the chaos of these local meetings and John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” on HBO even featured LCPS in its discussion of CRT.