Security changes follow protest over Black History Month exercise at Loudoun Co. elementary school

The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office said six protesters made their way into the office at Madison's Trust Elementary School on Friday. (Facebook)

Security is being increased at an elementary school in Ashburn, Virginia, days after peaceful protesters entered the school’s office without authorization.

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said six protesters made their way into the office at Madison’s Trust Elementary School on Friday by following behind a parent and a student who were properly cleared to enter.

The protesters were upset over an insensitive black history month lesson at the school last month. During phys-ed, some students were asked to run through an obstacle course that they were told represented the underground railroad.

The sheriff’s office said the six were dressed in black, were peaceful and did not make threats. Some members showed identification and asked to speak with a school administrator.

According to a police statement, one protester self-identified the group as members of a Virginia-based Black Panther chapter. The original Black Panther Party was dissolved in 1982.

After a brief discussion with an administrator, the protesters walked out chanting “no justice, no peace.”

Outside, the protesters were met by sheriff’s deputies responding to a 911 call reporting people “possibly being disorderly” inside the office.

Videos showing some of what happened were recorded by a protester and posted on Facebook:

View a second video here.

The sheriff’s office said the protest was a breach of visitor access, but did not rise to the level of a crime.

Despite that, the Loudoun County Public Schools announced Monday night that the following security changes were being made at Madison’s Trust:

  • LCPS and the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office will increase security and law enforcement presence at the school through the end of the school year to promote safety and reassure the school community.
  • A school resource officer and a school security officer will be assigned to the school and monitor the campus daily, including drop-off and pick up, as well as the modular classrooms through the end of the school year.
  • Staff will review and revisit practices, including visitor management protocol.
    • Remind staff to be vigilant in observing drop off and pick up.
    • Remind parents to follow visitor management procedures and not allow others to “piggyback” by entering on the heels of others without showing ID and expressing a reason for the visit.
    • Collaborate with the Sheriff’s Office to review practices.
    • We will work with staff to review scenarios related to visitor management that could involve unauthorized entry.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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