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Loudoun County, Virginia school board cuts off public comment on transgender policies, two arrested

The meeting was ended after public debate devolved in shouting between supporters, critics of the plan.

Updated: June 23, 2021 - 2:17pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The school board in Loudoun County, Virginia, cut off public comments in a public meeting Tuesday night on a new policy for transgender students after debate among attendees turned into a shouting match. 

The policy in part calls for students to be "treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, transgender status, or gender identity/expression."

And if adopted, the policy would require staff to use transgender students’ names and pronouns and give transgender students access to sport  restrooms and locker rooms, according to NBC Washington. 

A vote on whether to adopt the policy is not expected until at least August 10.

Before ending the meeting, the board ordered a five-minute recess for disruptions caused by supporters and critics of the plan, including parents, who repeatedly yelled over each other.

"The Loudoun County School Board ended the public comment section of its June 22 meeting on a unanimous vote after Chair Brenda L. Sheridan repeatedly warned the attendees in the Board Room that loud public demonstrations violated the decorum of the meeting," the board said in a statement.

The county's sheriff's office said two people were arrested for their conduct at the meeting, according to Fox News.

Authorities said one man was issued a trespassing summons and released. The other was allegedly “acting disorderly and displayed aggressive behavior toward another attendee."

The office said that in the second arrest the subject, after a deputy intervened, continued to be disorderly, physically resisting arrest. The subject was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Those critical of the police arrested reacted on social media.

"It’s pretty sad and pathetic that your department supports squashing free speech. Your deputies actions in arresting people who were exercising their First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly," Facebook user Conrad Chavez commented.

Another Facebook user, Rik Robo, posted: "As a 28-year law enforcement officer I am embarrassed and ashamed that any law enforcement agency in the United States would be ignorant, violent, and anti-American enough to do this to any American citizens. ... No law enforcement officer that takes an oath to defend the United States Constitution should engage in these type of stormtrooper tactics."

On Twitter, Pedro Gonzalez, the editor for Chronicles Magazine, posted: "Parents concerned about this who identify as Republicans may notice the uncomfortable reality here in which the police, which you are funding, are basically enforcing the imposition of depravity on your children.