Loudoun Co. could study segregated school past, current impact of discrimination

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Last year, Loudoun County, Virginia, apologized for “operating segregated schools, resisting integration and the persistent educational inequities that resulted from these actions” dating back to 1870.

One year after the joint statement from the county’s school board, public school system and local elected leaders, the Board of Supervisors could dig deeper into how the discrimination happened, and consider ways to rectify the wrongs.

On Tuesday, the supervisors will consider a proposal by Juli Briskman, D-Algonkian, that would have a committee made up of members of the school board and board of supervisors study the county’s foot-dragging toward integration.

Its public schools didn’t fully desegregate until 1968 — 14 years after the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision

The 2020 joint letter of apology laid out the inequities, in general terms:

“In addition to the blatant disregard and disrespect of Black people and their education during the era of segregation, such as inequitable school calendars, teacher salaries, facilities, transportation, as well as instructional materials, supplies and equipment, there are many examples and instances in which systemic racism, inequitable treatment, and disproportionality began have persisted since.”

According to Briskman, the county’s school segregation “created deep and lasting disparities in the Black community and inhibited the ability of Black Americans to achieve the same degree of academic, economic and social success as white Americans.”

Calling it a “moral imperative,” Briskman seeks to hold public hearings to establish the scale and impact of past injustice, “and seek out ways to rectify this wrong.”

“Current racial disparities are not a result of individual moral failings on the part of Black Americans, but rather systemic racism and generational discrimination emanating from all three levels of government.”

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Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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