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A crowd gathers outside the Loudoun School Board meeting in August 2021.

In response to a rising national trend of disruptive, sometimes violent, local school board meetings, the school board in Loudoun County has changed their guidelines on who is allowed to participate.

The school system said in a press release that starting at the next board meeting on Sept. 28, those wishing to offer public comment at school board meetings must meet the following criteria:

  • They must be residents of Loudoun County (including its incorporated towns);
  • Owners of businesses located in whole or part in Loudoun County;
  • LCPS students;
  • Parents and guardians of LCPS students that live outside of Loudoun County; or
  • LCPS employees.

In their written statement, the board emphasized the change was to protect the interests of their own residents.

“The School Board is making these changes in order to ensure that the voices of our parents and the LCPS community are heard rather than out-of-town agitators who would make Board meetings a platform for national politics or to enhance their own media profiles,” said School Board Chair Brenda L. Sheridan.

Those wishing to speak at school board meetings must also provide legal ID, or other proof of eligibility, including:

  • A valid Virginia driver’s license indicating Loudoun County residency;
  • A utility bill from 2021 with the resident’s name and a Loudoun County address;
  • A mortgage or rental lease agreement displaying the resident’s name and current street address of residency or business;
  • A current Employee ID or Student ID;
  • An email or letter from Loudoun County Public Schools to the parent from the 2021-22 school year regarding a currently enrolled LCPS student, or
  • A student report card or progress report.

“An informal survey of our neighboring jurisdictions shows that the Loudoun County School Board is one of the few governmental bodies that has minimal restrictions on speakers,” Sheridan said. “Even with these changes, the School Board has some of the most open public comment practices in our region.”

Debates over hot political issues, such as Critical Race Theory, COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates and LGBTQ rights have spilled off of social media and into the local town halls and school board meetings. But the outrage presented is not always ‘grassroots’ and, in many instances, those protesting the loudest are not even from the community.

On Sept. 15 at a school board meeting in neighboring Prince William County the public comment portion was suspended after an unruly crowd caused the meeting to stop.

(15) comments

Duke Nukem

They dove head first into these nationwide political debates. Guess they can't take the heat.

John Dutko

These are good rules as non-Loudoun county people have no skin in the fight.

Mike Hunt

Can’t say as I disagree per say….just as dead people, illegals, etc. should not vote (i.e. show proof of who they are).

John Dutko

This is a forum for a school board.

They can be more restrictive and require vaccination cards if they liked.

Mike Hunt

Of course. Your Commie lens can’t comprehend the hypocrisy of these actions…only when it fits your narrative. Sad and predictable. Where are all the rest of your Commie friends? My guess is their tail is tucked between their legs….

John Dutko

@Mike

What's it like to have an occupation that a migratory worker can easily do for less? Because your verbiage sounds like unskilled labor.

Paul Benedict

Right, just like Yankees had no business going down to Selma and Little Rock to help integrate schools. While you are keeping people out of meetings, maybe you should keep out-of-county money out.

John Dutko

So now you are contradicting yourself.

Do you blame the Dems or the Southern states for segregation?

Choose a side and stand by your convictions. It's ok to be racist. Just admit it to the group and let's get it out of the way.

Paul Benedict

This is the same tactic Democrats used in schools back in the 1950's and 1960's when they were trying to keep black kids segregated in their own schools.

John Dutko

What substantial legislation has the Republican party authored to help minorities in the last 20 years?

Sammy Davis

None, there is none needed! Why does everyone think minorities need help? They need to take responsibility for their own life and actions and stop relying on government or blaming things in the past for their condition.

John Dutko

Fantastic! So you agree that we should repeal legislation that gives white people a "leg up" over minorities? Going for the whole equality thing here.

There is a lot of people here that disagree with Brown v. Board of Education it seems.

Popular Misconception

Funny how residency and IDs are super important when it's something they want to protect. But when it comes to voting, it's like, "meh... whatever."

Mike Hunt

Also….curious what voting requirements are in Loudoun. I’d bet a paycheck these new restrictions make it harder to speak at the school board meeting than it is to vote. Dreadful Commies…..

Mike Hunt

More commie 1st Amendment suppression. Vote them out at all costs.

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