Victoria Cobb, President
Friday, July 16, 2021
At a time when courage is rare, last night, school board members and hundreds of determined parents proved that it still exists in the Commonwealth: As a standing-room-only crowd of approximately 500 concerned citizens watched—the majority waving Protect Every Kid signs— the Russell County School Board took a 7-0 vote to reject in its entirety the transgender-issue model policy handed down by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).
During a #ProtectEveryKid rally beforehand, community citizens asked their school board members to stand strong for protecting every child's physical safety, heart, mind and body by rejecting the VDOE's model policy (watch a local teen perform a rousing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner at the rally.)
“As a father, and citizen in Russell County, I believe we need to be proactive in protecting the mental and physical well-being of our children as well as their privacy,” explained Johnathan Miller, the father of a soon-to-be kindergartner in the school district, during a pre-meeting press conference. Watch Johnathan and others share:
The Russell County School Board members heard your voices and responded! Citing constitutional concerns with the VDOE policy, the Board's attorney explained that the district already has policies in place consistent with equally protecting all students. Referring to U.S. and Virginia Supreme Court decisions, the Board instead passed a resolution making it clear that the school district is respecting the constitutional rights of parents to direct their children’s upbringing and education. While reading the resolution, the Board’s attorney credited Founding Freedoms Law Center (the legal arm of The Family Foundation) for providing crucial expertise. “School boards have a primary ethical and legal duty to protect and respect the privacy, safety, and conscience of every child within the school setting, as well as the fundamental constitutionally-guaranteed rights of parents, teachers, and staff,” said Josh Hetzler, Legal Counsel for Founding Freedoms Law Center. Watch the reading of the resolution and the audience's reaction!
Family Foundation's Director of Government Relations, Dr. Todd Gathje, also stated to the Board that "at the end of the day, regardless of what the VDOE provides as guidance, school boards have a primary duty to protect the safety and security of the students under their care" and to protect the "ability of parents to protect their children and not have their parental rights violated." Watch his testimony and the audience's response:
The Board also voted not to implement critical race theory themed lessons. “With these actions, the Russell County School Board set an empowering example for school board members across the state who feel pressured against their will to adopt the state government agency’s radical transgender-issue policy and other curriculum recommendations,” said Candi Cushman, Vice President of Grassroots and Communications Strategies at The Family Foundation. “This is one of the first school boards to send this strong, unequivocal message that they will not compromise when it comes to protecting all kids and respecting parental rights.”
At the end of the meeting school board members publicly thanked The Family Foundation for lending its expertise and the crowd responded with a standing ovation. Watch that moment:
The bottom line is, your voices were heard loudly and clearly! And they are creating an inspiring ripple effect for concerned parents and school board members across Virginia. Let's keep the movement going! To learn more about how you and your neighbors can get involved, visit the #protecteverykid website and sign the petition.