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Embattled Loudoun County votes to consider slavery reparations

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The Loudoun County, Va., Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to launch a study to determine whether doling out reparations for slavery is something taxpayers should do.

Juli Briskman, one of the supervisors, made the initial proposal, citing the county’s decision to continue keeping its schools segregated for 14 years after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954 that banned the practice, FOX5 reported.

The measure passed on a 6-3 vote, with supervisors Caleb Kershner (R-Catoctin), Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles) and Tony Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) voting against the motion, the Loudoun Times reported, adding that Kershner and Letourneau expressed concerns “that the initiative does not define any particular action.”

“The actions follow last September’s joint apology by the Board of Supervisors and School Board for the role both entities played in ‘operating segregated schools, resisting integration and the persistent educational inequities that resulted from these actions’ dating back to 1870,” the local paper reported.


(Source: Fox 5)

Besides the reparations issue, there has been additional race-related controversy in the northern Virginia county. The local school board has been inundated with complaints from residents about the inclusion of critical race theory curriculum, which many parents and teachers have rejected as inherently biased against whites.

In addition, Leesburg Elementary School gym teacher Tanner Cross was suspended by the district earlier this year for refusing to use gender pronouns with students that did not match their biological sex, citing religious objections. The state Supreme Court eventually overturned the school board’s suspension and ordered Cross reinstated.

In August, Laura Morris, who was a 5th-grade teacher at Lucketts Elementary School located in the county, resigned during an impassioned address to the board, citing what she considered the racist nature of CRT curriculum.

After venting her anger at “emails sent by the superintendent last year reminding me that a dissenting opinion is not allowed, even to be spoken in my personal life,” Morris added that “within the last year I was told in our so-called equity trainings that white, Christian, able-bodied females currently have the power in our schools and, quote, ‘this has to change.'”

“This summer I have struggled with the idea of returning to school, knowing that I’ll be working yet again with a school division that, despite its shiny tech and flashy salary, promotes political ideologies that do not square with who I am as a believer in Christ,” she said.

“Clearly you have made your point.  You no longer value me, or many other teachers you have employed in this county,” she said, becoming more emotional.  “So since my contract outlines the power that you have over my employment in Loudoun County Public Schools, I thought it necessary to resign in front of you…School board, I quit,” she said.

“I quit your policies, I quit your training, and I quit being a cog in a machine that tells me to push highly-politicized agendas on our most vulnerable constituents – the children,” she added.

But in defending her reparations proposal, Briskman suggested resistance to it and to CRT, which teaches that since the country was founded during a period of slavery and by whites only that all American institutions are inherently racist, was merely political.

“The anti-CRT movement is much more about ‘today’ and what we’re teaching today. And my Board member initiative is looking back at potential harm that was because we operated segregated schools illegally against the ruling of Brown vs. the Board of Education,” she said, according to FOX5, though it’s not clear why Briskman believes Loudoun County residents in 2021 should be held accountable for actions that occurred there five decades ago.

“I would just encourage our joint commission or whatever committee to come out of this to just ignore the outside noise because what’s happening in Fairfax and us, has little to do with us and in many ways has to do with ‘message testing’ for the 2022 elections and beyond,” she added.

Jon Dougherty

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