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NAACP announces town halls to combat racism in Loudoun County Public Schools

The district says it's interested in the concept of meetings with the NAACP.

LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. — Loudoun County Public Schools are dealing with racial issues so deep that the NAACP is stepping in.

A report released this summer highlighted racism not just among students, but also staff members.

"The Loudon County Public Schools have been on the radar for the NAACP for five decades, since the integration of African Americans into the school system," Loudoun NAACP President Pastor Michelle Thomas said.

Thomas said the NAACP chapter is working with the district to organize town hall meetings.

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Credit: WUSA
Pastor Michelle Thomas is the Loudoun NAACP President. She's organizing town halls to talk about the issue of race in LCPS.

"We have to know where to start," Thomas said. "This isn’t not a cold, this is cancer."

The school system commissioned the report from Equity Collaborative, and they conducted interviews with focus groups from 24 schools across the county.

The report found that racial incidents often occur inside LCPS schools. It also found that parents fear for their child’s safety at school and don’t trust the division to support them.

"One of my teachers told me to go back to my country," a student statement in the equity report said. "I was in shock. I was born here."

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In addition, the report found that there is a slow and ineffective response to racial incidents.

"I have been the victim of racism in this very building," one equity report participant wrote. "There was a noose hanging out in a tree outside our building. It was jarring. I called safety and security and there wasn’t a quick response."

The report also included recommendations for all the findings and included a list of efforts the district has done to address the issues over the last 13 years.

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The superintendent released a statement that said the district is committing to provide a safe, respectful, and supportive learning environment to every student.

"LCPS calls for all students, staff, families, and other members of our community to engage in the disruption and dismantling of white supremacy, systemic racism, and hateful language and actions based on race, religion, country of origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, and/or ability," LCPS Division Superintendent Eric Williams Ed. D. said. "LCPS rejects racist and other hateful behavior and language, recognizing that it encourages discrimination, hatred, oppression, and violence."

Thomas said she wants swift changes to come, and that’s what she hopes the town hall meetings bring.

"They have not implemented those changes that we brought to the table," Thomas said. "Those changes are very slow dripping. We still have these opportunities for racism. This report echoes the sentiments."

The district developed an Ad Hoc committee in 2019 to review the draft report of the systemic equity.

On Tuesday, the school board reviewed the Ad Hoc committee’s resolution and it’s expected to be approved next week.

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