LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — A group of Loudoun County Public School (LCPS) parents filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday against the LCPS school board, claiming it is allegedly violating student’s right to free speech.
The lawsuit claims the school board and administrators have implemented controversial and what they’re calling radical political theory into school curriculums, most recently through a new program known as the Student Equity Ambassador Program.
WDVM spoke to Daniel Suhr, a senior attorney at the Liberty Justice Center, to learn more about the program that allows students to report incidents of racist behavior among students.
“This is a special opportunity that the school district is creating and they’re only allowing certain students in, and the way you get in, is either you check a particular racial box or you promise to advocate for a particular viewpoint that the school district likes,” explained Suhr.
Suhr said students can be anonymously reported and investigated, taking students’ right to free speech away.
“The problem with Loudoun County’s policy is that they are targeting and investigating students based on their speech with their classmates and peers, not only in the school context but outside the school context like on social media,” said Suhr.
The parent of an LCPS high school student, Patti Hidalgo Menders, said several parents asked the school board for transparency and clarification in the form of a town hall, but when they didn’t follow through with the request, the group of parents moved forward with the lawsuit.
“We’re taking it to another level, you know, we’re getting their attention with this lawsuit,” stated Menders.
Menders said it’s not the kids who have issues with racist behavior in schools; “it’s the adults implementing this indoctrination to look for it, so it’s really pushed by the administration.”
Suhr said this new system shuts down student speech and does not encourage critical thinking in the school environment.
“We want our schools to be places of open dialogue, a marketplace of ideas, where students engage in critical thinking and respectful conversation,” said Suhr.
WDVM reached out to the school for a comment on the announcement of the lawsuit and did not get a response.