Northern Virginia, a particularly blue area of the commonwealth and the country, is known for being rather liberal. In the past few years, though, it's become something of a hellscape, especially when it comes to education. Exposing the insanity in places like the Loudoun County Public Schools system – such as how the district covered up and kept moving a rapist around – helped elect Gov. Glenn Youngkin and other Republicans statewide. Even after the rapist, a young man who is now 15-years-old and likes to wear skirts was found guilty and sentenced, problems remain, and not just in Loudoun. Fairfax County, the commonwealth's largest school district and one of the largest in the country, has issues as well. Here are some recent examples of what's going on and that they need to be reined in.
When it comes to Loudoun County, the district is actually an example where there has been some success in reining these power-hungry fools in. Gov. Youngkin recently amended legislation that changes the election structure for school board members by forcing them to face voters a year early.
Recently, Gov. Youngkin signed House Bill 4, which reinstates sexual assault reporting requirements in school. Schools will have to report students for sexual assault and stalking, even for misdemeanors. In 2020, Virginia passed a law that gave school officials discretion when reporting misdemeanors to the police, even if they were sexual in nature. As I highlighted last October, when the covered-up rapes and education were a major campaign issue, that 2020 law generated strong outrage.
This is a school board that not only covered up rape but the district also treated parents and students who would not comply with a mask mandate the district insisted on keeping worse than that rapist. As I reported in February, the district sought arrest warrants against these parents and students for trespassing, with staff even being trained to obtain such warrants.
Gov. Youngkin ran on empowering parents in education, especially when it comes to whether their children would wear masks or not to school. He made good on that campaign promise on his first day in office through executive orders. Stubborn bright blue school boards sought to defy Youngkin from the start, though, claiming that they had the authority for such decisions, even bringing Youngkin to court. Fairfax was one of seven school boards in that lawsuit, with Loudoun being involved in a separate lawsuit.
The executive order was tied up in the courts, but Gov. Youngkin ultimately signed SB 739 into law in February to end forced masking of students, with schools having until March 1 to comply. Youngkin and Virginia's Republican Attorney General Jason Miyares, however, had been involved in a separate lawsuit over masking with Loudoun. After a judge found against Loudoun, the district was forced to allow parents to decide for themselves if their children would wear masks earlier, on February 17.
Now Loudoun did vote for former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Youngkin's Democratic opponent, last November. Of course, it did. Again, this is bright blue Northern Virginia. McAullife underperformed, though, while Youngkin overperformed. McAuliffe carried the county by 11 points, FiveThirtyEight pointed out last November when analyzing Youngkin's win. The county voted for President Joe Biden by 25 points.
Fairfax County, though, continues to be entrenched in shenanigans.
Not only was Fairfax one of the school boards that challenged Youngkin's executive order on masking, but as I reported in January, the district threatened to suspend students who did not comply with the mask mandate. Now, the district is threatening to suspend students if they engage in "misgendering" fellow students.
As Chrissy Clark reported for The Daily Caller last month:
A Virginia public school district is weighing new rules that could suspend or expel students who “maliciously” misgender or “deadname” their transgender peers, according to a draft of the guidelines.
Fairfax County Public Schools Students Rights and Responsibilities’ (SRR) handbook is under review by the district’s school board. An updated version makes “hate speech,” “deadnaming,” and “misgendering” peers a suspendible offense.
The updated SRR states that hate speech, misgendering, and deadnaming “allows for a suspension up to 5 days if frequency and intensity are present.”
Announcements from the school district on updating the SRR do not refer to adding language about “hate speech” or transgender naming. However, the updated version states that board members “added language regarding gender identification and immigration status.”
Outraged parents have been speaking out against the updated Students Rights and Responsibilities, as well as how the district is amending its sex education programs, though the board chickened out when it comes to having taken a vote on it and will instead vote on June 16. The board members will also vote on whether students can be suspended for the misdeeds mentioned above.
Fox News' Cortney O'Brien and Andrew Kagle reported on the proposed changes, as well as parent protests:
The Fairfax school board is considering changing the FLE classes in the name of equity, including largely eliminating separate gender classes. The recommendation, from the school board sex-ed committee, would mix boys and girls in 4th through 8th grade for all discussions of puberty, sexually transmitted diseases, and the human reproductive system. The board will also consider increasing penalties against students for "malicious misgendering" "deadnaming" their peers. "Deadnaming" is a word used to describe the act of referring to someone by a name they used prior to transitioning.
When it comes to the delayed vote, Virginia mother Stephanie Lundquist-Arora believes it was postponed in the "hope that attention on the issue will settle, families will leave for their summer vacations, and board members can sneak through their activist policies in the quiet stillness of a summer evening."
Fairfax also has a penchant for making pornographic books available at its school libraries, including "Gender Queer" and "Lawn Boy." Not only has the district engaged in a back-and-forth to make sure the books are available, but staff members have also mocked parents for their outrage when it comes to the kind of graphic content their children are being exposed to, and at school no less.
In April, Youngkin signed Senate Bill 656, which mandates the commonwealth's Department of Education to develop policies ensuring parents are notified when sexually explicit content is taught in the classroom. Parents must also be allowed to "review instructional material that includes sexually explicit content and provide, as an alternative, nonexplicit instructional material and related academic activities to any student whose parent so requests." The school boards must adopt the policy by January 1, 2023.
McAullife, governor from 2014 to 2018, vetoed such legislation when it came across his desk in 2017.
Relief may also come from the courts. Last month, a Virginia Beach circuit court found cause to declare "Gender Queer" and "A Court of Mist and Fury" to be obscene for unrestricted viewing by minors. And as ABC 7 News and the Washington Examiner highlighted, parents believe this may ultimately extend to getting such obscene books out of the school systems.
Fairfax has also been under fire for its discriminatory admission process when it comes to doing away with merit-based admissions at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, which has been ranked the top high school in the country.
In addition to lowered standards, the new policy using a lottery system has been found to be discriminatory toward Asian students. The policy is involved in court battles, but for the incoming school year, the lottery-based system is still being used, a result of the Fairfax School Board having appealed. Parents and Attorney General Mirayes asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene, but Chief Justice John Roberts did not grant emergency relief.
While these power-hungry school boards and school districts may face the wrath of angry parents seeking to protect their children and their own rights as parents, Youngkin is viewed favorably by Virginians. A survey conducted May 15-May 26 by the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research (IPOR) at Roanoke College found that Youngkin's approval rating is now at 53 percent, up from February when it was at 50 percent. Meanwhile, the poll found President Joe Biden's approval rating is down in the commonwealth to just 38 percent.
Virginia's statewide races, which, along with New Jersey, are the only ones to happen in off-election years, are often a preview for what is to come. Parental rights and education are indeed looking to be major issues around the country for congressional races, just as they were in the commonwealth.