Empowering all students to make meaningful contributions to the world.
Those words outline the mission of the Loudoun County School district in Virginia, one would believe that their central purpose has always been making a positive difference in the lives of the children under their charge.
While that may have been how it began at its inception in 1870, over 150 years later, Loudoun has strayed far, far away from that.
When Republican gubernatorial frontrunner Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat candidate Terry McAuliffe in November of last year, his victory sent a well-needed shockwave through the constituents of Virginia. The message they heard concisely echoed, “there’s a new sheriff in town; It’s a new day.” However, anyone coming into an established order, especially an ideologically distinct one, probably already understands the two-fold
challenge they are most likely to face:
First, deposing the previous leadership is different than cutting of the head of the snake- sometimes the head is in the body, and the candidate is just a person in the chair.
Secondly, don’t waste precious time attempting to suss out whose allegiances are where. At least not when it comes to those under the last leadership. In the words of the late Ronald Reagan- “Trust but verify.” In other words- give them a test.
To begin, whatever controversies surrounded the Northam administration had implications that extended past him. From former-pediatrician Northam’s blatant complicit stand on infanticide, to his giving Critical Race Theorist Ibram X. Kendi the keynote speech at his housing conference, there was an atmosphere of demagoguery and a legacy of toxicity that needed to be addressed.
The poison from the prior leadership’s agendas would not simply go away. Instead, it had to be legislated away.
Just this week, according to Patch.com, Youngkin vetoed twenty-five bills and amended more than one hundred more. The Virginia General Assembly will reconvene later this month and vote on the governor’s proposed bill
amendments. While those actions were a necessary and important start- they were just a start.
One of the obstacles facing Youngkin was not simply eliminating the dangerous policies already in place but assessing the collateral damage and the repercussions that continued. With that in mind, next on the list was the Loudoun County School District. I.e., “the test.”
Of all the stories interwoven into the waning aftermath of America’s Pandemic, few were as memorable and/or disconcerting as the 2020 sexual assaults In Virginia’s Loudoun County Schools. In April 2020, then-Governor Ralph Northam signed into law HB257, which “eliminates the requirement that school principals report to law enforcement certain enumerated acts that may constitute a misdemeanor offense,” despite the warning that it could “create a more dangerous environment for students and faculty.”
In May of 2021, less than a month later, a male student taking advantage of one of the school’s recent “Transgender Laws,” sodomized a female student in the girl’s restroom at Stone Bridge High School. Rather than prosecute or report it based on the rules of HB257, they transferred him to yet another school. Once at Broad Run High School, the same student committed that same crime-again.
Due to these challenges, Youngkin’s test recently became amending a bill requiring all Loudoun School Board members to be up for election in 2022; rather than 2023, per the original school guidelines. He understood that if
given the chance, the citizens of Loudoun County just might vote differently with a new captain at the helm.
Attitude is Everything
Youngkin also recognized who his predecessor was, as well as the truth in that adage, “attitude reflects leadership.”
The situation facing Governor Youngkin and other newly elevated leaders is becoming increasingly commonplace. They are discovering that the status quo and ‘business as usual’ ways of operating simply will not do.
As we strive to gain positions of change and influence, we must prepare ourselves for not only the mindset and resolve needed, but the responsibilities and tenacity required to make the necessary changes. Those in power have no desire to relinquish it, nor are they concerned with the damage done, or the loss of life that accompanies such plans and campaigns. Therefore, it becomes our responsibility to ensure that those depending on the elected leadership do not feel their votes wasted, nor fear their desire for liberty moot.
We can ill afford to hold to delusions or illusions or even assume that they to which we have entrusted are worthy of that trust. We can never forget that we must inspect what we expect, thereby assuring that those in power never forget those three iconic and all-important words that not only begin our Constitution, but clarify what at all times must be their focus: “We The People.”