ASHBURN, VA — December 13, the sun rose on the Loudoun County Public School administrative offices, revealing more than 650 pairs of shoes strategically placed across the grass and down the sidewalks leading to the building with their toes facing away from the front doors.
The Loudoun County-based parent advocacy group “Citizens for Freedom”, fighting for Parental Rights, Medical Freedom and an end to student indoctrination, staged this massive “Shoe Drop” as a powerful visual message to all Loudoun County Administrators, the Board, Superintendent, Virginia Department of Education, Board of Supervisors and all Loudoun County community leaders that families and teachers will continue to leave en masse from Loudoun County Public Schools as a result of the lack of focus on Education and Safety for students, as well as a total disregard for Parental Rights and the sanctity of families.
Megan Refalski, Citizens for Freedom member, Education Task Force Leader and one of the organizers of the protest said, “We are doing all we can to be heard by the school board, but their belief that parents do not have a primary role in the education of our children, is blocking them from truly listening. If they do not respect our Parental Rights, focus on our children’s safety, respect our medical freedom and end the in-class indoctrination of our kids we will be forced to choose alternative means of education”
Loudoun County School Board and Superintendent Scott Ziegler have been the subject of months long media coverage ranging from plotting against parents within private Facebook groups, claiming in a text message between board members that “we are now at war” with parents, violating the First Amendment rights of teachers, holding parents outdoors in dangerous weather, ending Public Comment in Board meetings, engaging in a campaign to “silence the opposition”, refusing requested Town Hall meetings from parents and lying about and covering up sexual assaults.
The Loudoun County School Board has been called an “activist school board”, steadfast in doing what they can do instead of what they should do. Parents say they want the focus to be on returning to the high standards of education in reading, writing, arithmetic, history, science and the arts — free of political ideology and private interest group agendas.
Parents also say they are concerned about student safety while they are in the schools and want the board to issue clear and consistent policies, procedures and trainings for school staff across the district.
It is not only parents that are upset, Loudoun County Public Schools teachers are feeling unheard and are worried for their fellow teachers, students and children.
Two of the founders of “Citizens for Freedom”, organizers of the protest and teachers at Loudoun County public schools have felt the impact of teachers leaving the school system — even the profession — and see the effect it is having on students and parents firsthand, all due to government overreach, lowered standards of education and a contentious relationship between the Board and parents.
“As a teacher in Loudoun County, a mom of LCPS students, and a coach in the county, I am disappointed and troubled by many of the decisions LCPS and the school board continue to make. Their decisions are politically focused, and not in the best interest of students.
“I just want my kids to be able to go to school, feel safe, be unmasked and be free to pursue their sports and interests without worry over mandates, while getting a fair and unbiased education.
“I have witnessed poor policies first hand and see, daily, the negative effects on kids. We are losing good teachers, kids and families at the hands of these unjustified decisions — and we will continue to lose more if we are not heard,” said one Loudoun County teacher who asked to remain anonymous due to fear of retaliation and a hostile work environment.
Another teacher who feels unsafe revealing her identity declared, “Vaccine and mask mandates are creating separate classes of people within our schools. These divisive policies are having unintended consequences that are affecting our staff and the students. These mandates plus the lowered expectations of our students may be the cause of the increased violence and behavioral issues we are seeing.”
Public Information Officer for Loudoun County Public Schools, Wayde Byard said, “attendance has risen since the beginning of the year. We are averaging 96 percent attendance, which is one of the highest rates in the state,”
Refalski, in a Fox News interview on Dec 15 said in response to Byard’s statement about attendance, “we are not talking about attendance. We are talking about enrollment [the number used by the Board of Supervisors in determining the school budget]. The enrollment numbers have been dropping for years and continues to drop
“The numbers for children being homeschooled and in alternative schooling is sky-rocketing,” Refalski added.
“Citizens for Freedom” and parents across Loudoun County are calling on the school board and Superintendent Ziegler to do better by the parents and teachers, but mostly for the students. “It is time for our leaders to listen and really hear our pleas,” said Refalski.