The Latest Chapter In The Trans Activism Ethics Train Wreck: The Loudoun County School Board Cover-Up [Updated]

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This scandal was brewing in my Northern Virginia back yard. I was remiss in not raising it earlier.

On May 28 a male student wearing a skirt entered a girl’s bathroom (he “identified as female, you see, so he was within his rights due to a new trans-catering bathroom policy) at a school in Loudoun County, Virginia and raped a freshman girl. Yesterday’s Open Forum marked its first appearance on Ethics Alarms, as Humble Talent linked to his entry on “Humble Musings,” his (excellent) substack site,where he wrote in part,

“This story broke as a result of the father of the victim, Steve Smith, being arrested when he rose to express anger and concern over the policies of the Loudoun County School Board. Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Ziegler has just said [in answer to school board member Beth Barts asking if there were sexual assaults in the bathrooms regularly] that “To my knowledge, we don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms.” Smith, perhaps understandably, was upset by this, which led to an outburst that quickly became heated, and Smith was arrested and removed from the building.”

Shortly thereafter, the request was made by an activist organization, the National School Board Association ,to the Biden Administration regarding parental outrage at the conduct of school administrators placing school board members in peril, and indeed raising the specter of domestic terrorism. Merrick Garland’s chilling memo, much discussed on the Hill last week, followed. A coincidence, we have been assured.

It would be simplest if you read Humble’s post linked above: my efforts to quote from it have been foiled by WordPress’s horrible block-quote systems which make quotes within quotes a nightmare. But because of the investigative work of D.C. TV station WTOP, we now know that Ziegler, Barts and every other member of the board were aware of the May assault in a high school bathroom thanks to Ziegler’s own email posted above. Now Ziegler and the school board members are sending out statements that attempt to show no deception was intended. Indications are, however, that Ziegler and the entire board wanted the May assault to disappear, especially after the male student involved was transferred to another school and allegedly assaulted someone else. Steve Smith says he was repeatedly told that he needed to remain quiet if he wanted justice for his daughter. Moreover, state law requires “A division superintendent who knowingly fails to comply or secure compliance with the reporting requirements of this subsection shall be subject to the sanctions authorized in § 22.1-65. A principal who knowingly fails to comply or secure compliance with the reporting requirements of this section shall be subject to sanctions prescribed by the local school board, which may include, but need not be limited to, demotion or dismissal.”

What’s going on here?

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Teacher Laura Morris’s “I Quit” Address

Laura Morris, a fourth and fifth grade teacher in the Loudoun County (Virginia) Public Schools resigned dramatically in front of the county school board yesterday as the climax of an emotional speech condemning its “highly politicized agendas.” “[I]n one of my so-called equity trainings, [I was told] that White, Christian, able-bodied females currently have the power in our schools and ‘this has to change,’”she said in part during the public comment period of the board meeting. “Clearly, you’ve made your point. You no longer value me or many other teachers you’ve employed in this county. So since my contract outlines the power that you have over my employment in Loudoun County Public Schools, I thought it necessary to resign in front of you.”

“I quit,” she said, her voice breaking. “I quit your policies, I quit your training, and I quit being a cog in a machine that tells me to push highly politicized agendas to our most vulnerable constituents – children.”

She also also alleged that the county ordered her not to express dissenting views. Several teachers in the system, anonymously (of course), have told news outlets that they were intimidated in the school’s mandatory equity trainings. Teacher Monica Gill, who also spoke at the meeting, told Fox News that the County’s embrace of Critical Race Theory, had damaged and divided the community. By her account, teachers like her and Morris were told their mission was to “disrupt and dismantle this systemic racism.” She continued, “And I can tell you, one thing that’s for sure, it has been disruptive because there are parents who disagree with this ideology, there are teachers who disagree with it, there are students who disagree with it — and it is harmful.”

Loudoun County is ground zero for CRT infestation in the public school battle in Northern, Virginia

Morris’ speech is less than two minutes long, and worth watching. It has gone viral, and should help spark public debate until YouTube takes it down. Vegas odds are running about 50-50 on whether it lasts the week. (I’m kidding. Those are my odds.)

Observations:

1. Quitting like that is grandstanding to be sure, and legitimately a cause for skepticism. If we find out later that Morris is getting married and was planning on quitting anyway, or had inherited a fortune, got a bonus from Christopher Rufu, or has a secret lobbying contract, such developments will put her performance in a very different perspective. It is one of the many tragedies of the digital age that we just can’t trust what we see, hear, and are told.

2. If, however, the speech is what it purports to be, Morris has to be deemed an ethics hero. She has made herself a target, quit her job, and said in a public forum what she had been unethically told she could not say. You never know when such moments become catalysts for important shifts in opinion and tipping points in policy debates. Usually, they are quickly forgotten. Sometimes, they are not.

3. It is unfortunate that Morris couldn’t avoid bringing her religion and her own beliefs into the discussion. This helps the censors, the indoctrinators and the demonizers of the religious, conservatives, and dissenters immensely. She is now subject to being classified as one more religious bigot who wants to discriminate against LGBTQ citizens. This is a trap too many conservatives fall into. The issue is schools, and local governments, that are dominated by political activists and ideologues forcing their beliefs and agendas on any student, any teacher, and anybody.

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Tuesday Afternoon Ethics Tunes, 6/8/21: The Mean Fundraiser, And More

Quite a while ago—I’m afraid to check—I asked readers to submit nominees for popular songs with an ethics theme or lesson. Lorne Greene’s one hit recording ( his vocal version of the “Bonanza” song did not fly off the shelves) was “Ringo,” a pretty blatant rip-off of Jimmy Dean’s “Big John,” was one of the first on the list. I received quite a few suggested songs but events overtook me, and I never finished the project. It is in a growing list of promised future content that I have yet to deliver, including missing parts to multi-part posts. I apologize to readers for all of them, but I also intend to make good on all of them, though the ethics songs compilation is understandably low priority. I was happy to finally finish the Ethics Guide to “Miracle on 34th Street” after it languished for a year. The top priorities on the catch-up list right now are Part II of Three Ethics Metaphors: The Rise, The Presidency And The Fall Of Donald J. Trump—that will be on the “Animal House” parade plot metaphor for Trump’s election—and, of course, the long-delayed Part III of The Pandemic Creates A Classic And Difficult Ethics Conflict, But The Resolution Is Clear.

Back to Lorne: I met him once, on a Santa Monica beach. He was in swimming trunks, and with his family, extremely friendly, tanned and wearing his hairpiece, which was fantastic. Like several other stars I have met in person, Greene was so strikingly attractive that he would make anyone turn their heads on a street even if you had no idea who he was. Unlike most of the others, he appeared to be a genuinely nice guy.

1. Proud to be off Twitter, Reason #569: After Twitter received notice of its noncompliance with India’s information technology laws, demanding that the company remove content critical of the government’s handling of the pandemic and about farmers’ protests, including tweets by journalists, activists and politicians, Twitter pulled itself up to its full metaphorical height, puffed itself up like blowfish, and protested in part, “We are concerned by recent events regarding our employees in India and the potential threat to freedom of expression for the people we serve.”

Twitter actually said that it cares about freedom of expression! Then, last week, after Nigeria blocked Twitter, it had the gall to tweet…

Twitter Nigeria

This, from the platform that censored the Hunter Biden laptop story and banned President Trump. The Hanlon’s Razor question of whether these are bad people or just stupid people now becomes irrelevant. It’s unethical to operate a powerful communications platform when you are so stupid.

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Ethics Dunce: Eugene Delgaudio, Homophobe

Eugene Deguadio, a Loudoun County, Va. lawmaker, told his 100,00 followers in the conservative nonprofit Public Advocate of the United States that the airport feel-up pat-downs (of which Ethics Alarms readers know I am so fond) are really meant to complete a Transportation Security-assisted “homosexual agenda.” “That means the next TSA official that gives you an enhanced pat-down could be a practicing homosexual secretly getting pleasure from your submission,” he wrote to the group, which he leads in his spare time. Continue reading