FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 18, 2021
LOUDOUN COUNTY, VA — In light of the reporting of recent sexual assault allegations, the Board of Directors of Equality Loudoun wishes to extend our deepest sympathies to the victims of these heinous attacks and their families. Loudoun County Public Schools should be a place where students feel able to learn in a safe and accepting environment that enables them to bring their best to bear on their education. We understand these recent events may cause challenges for the many survivors of sexual assault in our County, both adult and youth, and we stand in support of all victims of sexual assault in pushing for reforms in the systems that do not protect victims first and foremost.
Equality Loudoun advocates for due process and justice for the victims regardless of whether the alleged perpetrator was a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Such actions have no place in our community, and Equality Loudoun does not condone any form of sexual violence, assault, or harassment. However, the accusations that the alleged perpetrator of these assaults is transgender or genderfluid have so far been unverified. Attempts to shift blame of this incident to any individual, group, or policy - other than the alleged perpetrator - does a grave disservice to the victims of these crimes and already marginalized youth in our community. We remind those advocating for change to the laws and policies that the initial assault predated any enactment of Policy 8040 by almost 4 months. Rumors of bathroom pilot programs and using the then-proposed policy to gain access are simply untrue. Sadly, public schools across the country experience similar horrific events with or without inclusive policies in place. Meanwhile, studies have shown that members of the LGBTQ+ community are in fact more likely to experience sexual assault in their lifetimes.1 We stand firmly with the community in demanding a change in the policies that actually enabled these events.
ds to the recent resignation announcement of School Board Member Beth Barts, we wish to join those in thanking her for her service to our County and the student population. Every volunteer that steps up to be in such a contentious and challenging position, regardless of political affiliation, should be provided the respect and appreciation of the community. Ms. Barts has been a tireless champion for equity and inclusive policies in our school system with the goal of improving education for all students. It is unacceptable that a minority of our community would resort to violence and threats in an effort to coerce a lawfully elected School Board member to resign. We continue to stand in firm support of the School Board’s efforts at creating an accepting and inclusive environment in Loudoun County Public Schools and hope that the replacement for Ms. Barts will continue her legacy of fighting for educational improvements and equality.
Founded in 2003, Equality Loudoun (EQLOCO) is Loudoun’s largest nonprofit organization fighting to promote, protect, and defend LGBTQ+ equality in Loudoun County.