10-8-2020: Ian Prior: New LCPS Proposal Concerning
Letter to the Editor: Ian Prior is the CEO of Headwaters Media and Former Principal Deputy Director of Public Affairs at Justice Department
New LCPS Proposal Profoundly Concerning
At the last Loudoun County School Board meeting, Loudoun residents learned of a draft of the new professional conduct policy for all Loudoun County Public Schools employees. Of particular concern was section B3, which would punish any employee for communication — on campus or off — that undermines LCPS’s “commitment to action oriented equity policies.” The policy also encourages other employees to report such speech and retaliation against the reporter will be punished, even where the report turns out to be false.
If this does not frighten every parent, teacher, and student, it should. First, “action oriented equity policies” are nothing more than applied critical race theory, which holds that America, its institutions, laws, schools, police, monuments and holidays are all systemically racist and must be deconstructed. This has been a boon to “equity consultants” everywhere (especially the equity consultants that were paid $420,000 of Loudoun County taxpayer money), but is contrary to the classical liberal position that we should strive for a race-neutral society based on equality for all. It requires everything to be viewed through the lens of identity politics and race.
Second, regardless of where you stand on critical race theory in our schools, this is a blatant First Amendment violation. While critical race theorists would posit that the First Amendment itself is designed to empower white supremacy and white privilege, it remains the law of the land and a protection against a dystopian future world for our children imagined by Orwell, Huxley and Bradbury.
Loudoun County Public Schools tries to escape this First Amendment liability by inserting an argument why it is not a Constitutional violation, but their attempts fall drastically short. Whether you want to call it applied critical race theory or action oriented equity practices, the terms are equally vague and overbroad. This would therefore open the county, and by extension the taxpayers, to federal civil rights liability. As the former principal deputy director of public affairs at the Department of Justice, I can assure you that the Civil Rights Division would certainly look at this with disdain.
Equal treatment for people of all races, ethnicities, religions, gender, sexual orientation and national origins is absolutely imperative in a free society. It is equally important to allow for diversity of thought, ideas and solutions to help achieve that. Critical race theory does neither, and the LCPS proposal is a dangerous restriction of constitutional rights that has no place in Loudoun County.
Everyone should make their voices heard on this fundamentally important issue at the Oct. 13 School Board meeting.