Posted on December 28, 2022

Loudoun County Parents Slam Effort to Ban ‘Hate Speech’ From School Board Meetings

Reagan Reese, Daily Caller, December 26, 2022

Loudoun County parents are speaking out against a resident’s petition that calls to ban hate speech from school board meetings following a school board meeting in which parents lambasted school officials over their handling of a sexual assault case.

The petition, signed by several hundred county residents and started by 19-year-old Andrew Pihonak, a Loudoun County resident and member of the LGTBTQ community, calls to “ban hate speech in Loudoun School Board meetings” after a man called homosexuality “immoral” and quoted a violent Bible verse during the public comment period of the Dec. 13 board meeting. Parents present at the meeting and seeking accountability from the school board for a special grand jury report, which found the district failed to alert the community of multiple sexual assaults within the district, told the Daily Caller News Foundation the one comment is not representative of their efforts and that their demands have nothing to do with the LGBTQ community.

The petition misrepresents parents at the Dec. 13 school board meeting who are focusing on holding the school board accountable, Colin Doniger, a Loudoun County parent, told the DCNF.


Scott Mineo, a Loudoun County parent, told the DCNF that the comments made by a majority of parents at the school board meeting were about the mistakes the school administration had made, rather than the LGBTQ community.


At the Dec. 13 meeting, Loudoun County parents demanded the school board members resign after a special grand jury report revealed that the school board failed to alert the community of multiple sexual assaults that occurred within the school system. Following the release of the report, former Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Ziegler was indicted on three misdemeanor charges, including penalizing an employee for a court appearance and Loudoun County Public Schools Public Information Officer Wayde Byard was indicted with felony perjury.

As of Monday, the petition had more than 900 signatures and stated that “platforming hate speech” leads to violence, such as the bullying, torturing and killing of “oppressed groups of people” such as the LGBTQ community. The petition demands that school board policy be amended so that “the second hate speech is spoken” the person’s public comment period is finished.

Loudoun 4 All, an advocacy organization which works towards equity in the community and launched a “political action committee to protect equity for all students,” endorsed the petition, according to WJLA News.

“There’s a line that gets crossed when you start targeting specific people or specifics groups of people,” Meredith Ray, a Loudoun 4 All board member, told WJLA News. “That community has been targeted I would say pretty regularly at school board meetings over the last two years. There was one speaker who crossed the line and made people very uncomfortable and even scared.”