Loudoun County School Board Members Are Fighting Against Transparency

Stephanie Lundquist-Arora | March 21, 2024

(Washington Examiner) — Last week, the Loudoun County, Virginia, School Board voted against transparency when members decided to turn off the cameras during public comment. The decision was made along party lines, with the six Democratic-endorsed members voting to turn off the cameras, and the three Republican-endorsed and independent members voting in favor of transparency.

Many Loudoun County parents are speculating that this decision was based on the desire to silence debate. The chairwoman of the Loudoun County School Board, Malinda Mansfield, tried to justify the decision by claiming that the inability to control what members of the public wear and the signs they carry meant that they “could have all sorts of things that we could get in trouble with [the Federal Communications Commission] on.”

When a reporter asked if the FCC had contacted the school district in the last few years, there was no response. Parents in Loudoun County argue that what the board members are actually worried about is the presentation of signs with messages inconvenient to the board’s leftist initiatives, such as those objecting to bathroom use based on gender identity, or others pointing out students’ shockingly low proficiency in reading and math, and another that reads “Stop Funding DEI.”

Loudoun County School Board member Sumera Rashid suggested that turning off the cameras during public comment was to avoid drama and for safety reasons.

“I’m trying to avoid a Jerry Springer show type of episode,” she said. “So, for that reason, I can’t support that the camera be on the speaker, but mainly it’s the safety issue.”

Rashid’s comment is particularly ironic given that the motion to turn off the cameras came following parents’ attendance at the Feb. 27, 2024 meeting to object to males being in female bathrooms. According to Rashid, it seems the real safety issue is video cameras showing parents speaking — and not the sexual assaults that have occurred and are likely to happen again in their children’s school bathrooms under the district policy.

Another school board member, April Chandler, argued that turning on the cameras during public comment “invites and undermines the work of the school board and the transparency of the school board.” Clearly, someone needs to explain to her what transparency means and remind her that she works for her constituents.