School board meeting over transgender rules becomes chaotic

LEESBURG, Va. (AP) — One person was arrested and a second was cited for trespassing after Loudoun County’s school board shut down public comment on proposed rules for the treatment of transgender students.

Hundreds of people showed up at Tuesday’s meeting in Leesburg to voice their opinions, but the school board voted unanimously to close public comment after just a few speakers, citing unruly behavior from the audience.

“Even after numerous attempts to ask for decorum, so everyone could speak, those attending insisted on continued interruptions in an attempt to delay and disrupt the proceeding,” school board Chair Brenda Sheridan said in a statement early Wednesday. “These politically motivated antics ought to end.”

Critics of the school board accused its members of ignoring public sentiment.

The proposed regulations would require that transgender students be addressed by their preferred name and pronoun and allow students to use the restroom associated with their preferred gender.

School systems across Virginia are adopting similar regulations; a new state law gives counties little leeway to consider alternatives. But Loudoun, an outer suburb of the nation’s capital, has become a flashpoint in the debate. Conservative groups rallied to support an elementary school gym teacher, Tanner Cross, who was suspended after he spoke at a school board meeting in opposition to the new rules.

A judge ordered Cross’ reinstatement, but the school board is appealing the ruling.

At Tuesday’s meeting, sheriff’s deputies charged one man with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. A second man received a summons for trespassing.

The proposed regulations are scheduled for a final vote in August.

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