Anxiety Increases for Loudoun County Students as Adults’ Opinions Put Their Schools in the Spotlight

Loudoun County is the so-called “popular kid” of our country. We continuously appear on lists of the top 5 wealthiest counties, but that tends to mean that all eyes are on us and the smallest mistakes are broadcast everywhere to see. 

Over the past few months Loudoun County has been on the national news most weeks for some reason or another. Whether it’s about the sexual harassment incident in the bathrooms, the walkouts that occurred at our schools, or the transgender policy that has been a source of many national arguments, there is always something putting us in the spotlight. Not to mention that most of the sources of controversy are started by parents and adults. 

One of the most publicized incidents recently involved a girl being sexually assaulted in the girls’ bathroom at Broad Run. Prior to this occurrence, another girl had also been harassed at Stone Bridge at the end of the 2020 school year. According to the Washington Post “…the charged youth was “gender fluid,” prompting renewed backlash against a policy in Loudoun County schools…”. Now many adults are seeing this as a chance to reject our transgender policy. 

It is the same with the walkout that happened a few weeks ago. “The demonstration was organized by a parent who sent out flyers,” according to NBC Washington News4. Students were given the option to participate in a walkout against sexual harassment that soon was once again all over national news. 

The big debate about the transgender policy was also a very political discussion in Loudoun County. Within the last year the school board enacted legislation around a transgender policy for our school system. At the school board meetings discussing the policy, parents and interested parties that didn’t live in Loudoun voiced their disagreements about the policy that allowed transgender students to use their gendered bathrooms. 

It is unreasonable that people who didn’t even live in our county spoke out at these meetings and about our other transgender related incidents, as voicing their opinions influences a policy that doesn’t even affect them. Loudoun County Public Schools has since enacted a policy stating that you must be a resident or owner of business in Loudoun County or a LCPS student, employee, or parent/guardian of a student. That doesn’t make those outside of our county any less disrespectful to dispute a policy that has no impact on them, though hopefully it will make our school board meetings a little more relevant.

It seems likely that the commotion that has been happening over the past few months leads back to the amount of politics in our school system today, specifically the political intensity of transgender rights. Many of the disclosed occurrences that have happened this year lead back to what to do for our transgender students. 

History is constantly recurring, and the controversy against transgender students is similar to discrimination against African Americans and women. Our country struggled with but resolved these inequities.

As a student of Loudoun County High School, the issues of these incidents have a more significant impact on me than any adult or party arguing at the school board meetings. These issues are ones of our school system and we have the ability to make the right decisions on our own. 

To continue, the citizens outside of Loudoun County who went against our policies with their political views should not influence our school. Our opinions on matters are an important part of improving our school systems and in making the world around us a better place, but they should also never discriminate against specific students in our schools. No one should ever have to be a subject to sexual assault, but according to all released information, the assaults had nothing to do with the gender identity of anyone involved. 

Although it seems that there is quite a lot of drama at our schools, for the most part our school lives are normal. The only difficulties are the anxiety that has come with all the attention we are receiving and the constant news stories about our school traveling around like secrets. 

It now appears that many of the reasons we make national news are because of transgender related instances that have been occurring and the political parties outside of our school system going against them. So maybe we aren’t the “popular kid” of counties, but instead a county where people’s opinions try to outweigh what might be best for our county.