A school board meeting on transgender policies descended into chaos, with members of the public screaming abuse and chanting “shame on you” – and it was all caught on camera.
One person was arrested and another was injured at the Loudon County School Board meeting in Ashburn, Virginia on Tuesday (22 June) after anti-trans activists turned up with placards.
The school board was meeting to discuss a series of new policies that would require teachers to call trans students by their correct names and to use the right pronouns. The changes would also allow trans students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.
The school’s new policy requires that all students be “treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, transgender status or gender identity/expression,” according to NBC Washington.
A large group of parents stormed the meeting to make their views known during a public comment section of the gathering.
Parents held signs that said there are only ‘two genders’ at school board meeting
Those parents proceeded to sing the national anthem and chant “shame on you” while waving placards bearing messages such as “We the parents stand up” and “education not indoctrination”.
Parents also reportedly raised their middle fingers, while others held up a sign that read: “There are two genders: male and female. Trust (teach) the science.”
Counter protesters also attended the meeting, holding up signs that expressed support for the LGBT+ community.
There was reportedly a heavy security presence at the meeting after members of the board received death threats over the school’s new trans inclusive policies.
A school district spokesperson said the meeting had “degenerated” before the board agreed to end the gathering early in response to violent scuffles.
Scott T Smith, 48, was charged with disorderly conduct and obstruction of justice following the meeting, with the sheriff’s office claiming he threatened another attendee at the meeting and resisted arrest.
It was confirmed that a third person sustained a minor injury, although officials did not provide further details.
Concluding the meeting, school board chair Brenda Sheridan said they would not be deterred from advancing the rights of LGBT+ students by a vocal group of parents.
“We will not back down from fighting for the rights of our students and continuing our focus on equity,” she said. “We will continue to work towards making Virginia, specifically Loudon, the best place to raise a family.”
NBC Washington reporter Drew Wilder shared video footage of the chaotic meeting on Twitter, which shows a parent shouting angrily about trans identities.
A second video shows the parents singing the national anthem and waving American flags and placards, while a third shows them chanting “shame on you!”
The proposed policy changes will be voted on in August.