LCPS Superintendent Eric Williams

Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Eric Williams presents the budget to the School Board Jan. 8.

A superintendent-commissioned report on issues dealing with race and racism in Loudoun County Public Schools found students complaining about frequent use of the N-word and teachers lacking racial literacy.

Earlier this year, LCPS Superintendent Eric Williams announced that he had hired national consulting firm The Equity Collaborative to draft a systemic assessment of racial equity within the school system.

The 23-page draft report was presented to the LCPS School Board's Ad Hoc Committee on Equity over the summer. After conducting a number of interviews and focus groups with students, faculty, staff and parents at 24 Loudoun County schools, authors of the report observed, "Despite efforts from the division, school site staff, specifically principals and teachers, indicate a low level of racial consciousness and racial literacy."

Though educator groups expressed "a desire to recruit and hire diverse school staff that reflect student racial and language backgrounds," the report states, policies and practices within LCPS regarding discipline "disproportionately negatively impact students of color, particularly Black/African-American students."

Members of student focus groups were quoted reporting numerous instances when English-learning students, African Americans, Latinx and Muslim students encountered racial insults or slurs during school hours. All quotes from students were kept anonymous.

"The N-word gets used ALL the time here," one student said of their school.

"One of my teachers told me to go back to my country. I was in shock. I was born here," another shared.

The report states students that experience racial incidents rarely tell their parents about them and trust only a few school-based personnel with concerns regarding race.

"This draft report serves as a call for additional action," Williams wrote to the Ad Hoc Committee on Equity in June. "We must make it clear throughout Loudoun County Public Schools that we reject this painful, racist language that encourages discrimination, hatred, and violence. Addressing these needs and others identified in the report will allow us to better fulfill our mission of empowering all students to make meaningful contributions to the world."

Still, Loudoun NAACP President Michelle Thomas and past president Phillip Thompson said the draft merely confirmed issues that have been evident in LCPS schools for years.

Thompson called for Williams' resignation – something he's consistently done in recent months – saying that the superintendent has let issues within the schools go unchecked too long.

"Dr. Williams needs to go," he said. "New leadership needs to be brought into Loudoun County Public Schools."

Thomas said, "The independent assessment that was done for equity did not reveal anything that the NAACP had not been telling Loudoun County Public Schools for the last two decades.” She added, “While Superintendent Williams wrote a very strong statement that was encouraging, that was forward-thinking and it totally was appropriate, because he had the data to back up such a strong statement, he probably felt a little more comfortable calling out things like white supremacy and talking about the dismantling of systemic racism. That's the language of the NAACP, and now it's being validated and backed up by data."

Thompson, the past president, asked for local government officials to break their silence on the issue.

"I challenge all of them to come out with statements saying something about this, from [U.S. Rep.] Jennifer Wexton down to members of our Leesburg Town Council. They've all been silent. This is unacceptable. It needs to be brought up," he said. "We've brought these issues to LCPS on numerous occasions. I've stood in front of that School Board and explained different things that have gone on. You wouldn't think this kind of crap would go on in 2019, but it's alive and well in Loudoun County Public Schools. It's extremely disheartening."

Thomas said one step the NAACP plans to take is to hold a series of town hall meetings in which members of the public can confront the issue of racial inequity in Loudoun schools. The first such event is planned for November.

In the meantime, Thomas hopes that LCPS will take the necessary measures to "implement the suggestions that they already have in hand," such as updating the curriculum to accurately discuss and portray the experiences of minorities and other misrepresented people groups. She also suggests planning field trips to destinations within the county that aim to educate visitors on the struggles of these people groups, including the Loudoun Freedom Center, which she founded.

"I'm hoping that they would take this seriously and begin to implement solutions and steps to dismantle racism that they've already been given," Thomas said.

(41) comments

Bradley

People posting comments to this article were asking how much this assessment cost. I know the exact number because I submitted a VFOIA request. I have the signed agreement in my possession. The equity assessment alone cost $120,000. A district equity plan and “Office Leadership” was an additional $122,000. So Equity Collaborative charged LCPS a total of $242,000. This is 100% factual.

clinerg59

I wish we did more learning and less complaining.


amerigirl

I agree! It's like they took the research as a personal attack on them instead of looking at the data and looking for solutions.


Virginia SGP

"Research"? Are you kidding me? I understand they took surveys but WON'T share the data because it won't support their narrative of pervasive discrimination. There is almost none of this going on so they need to take about 10-15 anecdotes out of district of 85,000 kids. We have more teachers that sexually assault kids than this yet there is no "teacher assault ad hoc committee" or statement going on.







This is 100% political. The solutions to improve education and opportunity for kids are not even being discussed.


amerigirl

Virginia, maybe you just didn’t understand correctly. They put out the draft this summer. They did share the material, look at the 3rd paragraph and click on The 23-page draft report, you can read the whole thing. There is no conspiracy to cover up anything that won't “support their narrative of pervasive discrimination”. How do you know there is nothing going on? Is it because it doesn’t fit your agenda? This is just 1 report of only 1 of the things that they are doing, I don’t know what else they are doing and I seriously doubt that you know if they have any type of other committees that address other issues that are happening right now or not. Not everything is political. Just because you don’t think it was worth doing does not make it political. These types of things are done for the students not any political party.


Virginia SGP

From the report: "shocking the extent to which students report the use of the N-word as the prevailing concern and consistentlydiscussed among students in the school environment. Focus group participants were also very specific to say that the vast majority of the racial insults come from White students, White teachers, and White parents". This is NOT TRUE. Anybody who has ever been in a school setting definitively knows that the n-word is used primarily by blacks. This is not, never ever will be, in dispute. The use of other ethnic insults (nappy hair, dark-skinned, not black enough) thrown at black students also comes primarily from other blacks. This report attempts to suggest the n-word should never be used. Implementing that will almost exclusively result in punishment to black students. The fact that you don't seem to understand the black community points at your ignorance, not at everyone else's.







Second, where is the DATA from the focus groups? They say "many" or the "majority" come from white students/teachers yet there were practically no white students in the groups to counter this narrative: "The groups were mostly, but not exclusively, comprised of students of color." This whole study is a joke. It presupposes the conclusion. These charlatans would be laughed out of ANY serious research organization. Period. End of story.


LoudounVAMom

One place the African American needs to start is in their own homes. My middle school son has told me for the last 2 years that his African American friends regularly use the N word when talking to each other. Between themselves it’s considered a “buddy” type word. They even give “permission” to certain white friends to use the word amongst them which my son was given but he said he’d never dare say it. I’ve discussed this with parent friends of mine at other schools and they say it’s the same. The African American community needs to eliminate the word from their own vocabulary. It has NO place in today’s world.


Waterfordresident

The NAACP is the leader of race baiting to meet their agenda. They were once needed, but their role has changed and they only cause a divide so they will stay in business. That’s a fact. This report looks like it had the help of this organization.


amerigirl

That is your opinion. The point is to ensure equality. I think that just like any group they will have their overzealous people. Maybe that is who you have a problem with but generally they are there to insure equality.


Virginia SGP

Who in the Loudoun NAACP is here to solve problems instead of securing political points? Their goal is to start every conversation with "remember slavery" or "against a backdrop of institutional racism" so they get the upper hand.







There are documented cases of teacher sexual misconduct. If, before every meeting or statement, LCPS started out with "We reject the sexual assaults that are perpetrated by our staff...", do you not think every discussion of any issue would be framed as anti-LCPS?







Can you not even admit this is a core part of their agenda?


More Cowbell

Nothing Independent about this study, research and you will find NAACP had more input into this study. Students interviewed were coached. How much did this study cost?


amerigirl

That I would need proof on. I don't think the NAACP was let into the schools to coach students. Can you backup your statement?


More Cowbell

So you believe some report that doesn't give names but gives same agenda NAACP claims even before the report was made... someday it will be made public however nobody will be held accountable.


RockinLoCo

Why does the report only use the race categories of "White", "Latinx", and "Black". What happened to all the Asians? Particularly when we are speaking of graduation rates and advanced diplomas. Report seems to be biased against whites and assume white people are the only racists in Loudoun County Public Schools.


amerigirl

It doesn't say that is all they use, it says that those were comments made by students in the focus group.


RockinLoCo

I am talking about the report, not the article. Go read the report and look at the tables in the report. When comparing discipline, graduation, type of diploma, etc., it only lists White, Latinx and Black. According to the report, it looks like there are no Asians in our schools. Odd, especially when many of our schools in the south part of the county are Asian majority schools.


amerigirl

Rockin, good o know. How do you get to the report?


ace10

Bingo. But that's merely an inconvenient detail for some people.


mopar19

Sounds like a parenting issue. What a waste of taxpayer dollars.


amerigirl

When the teachers are doing it how is it a parenting problem?


Lawman

For the commenters trying to say it’s the music don’t be “Stultus”. These kids can discern between words in art and words meant to degrade and insult. Why certain white people always try to down play race. That’s why we can really address the issue because people don’t want to face facts.


ace10

Another costly study brought to you by an Everything-Looks-Like-A-Nail-When-All-You-Have-Is-A-Hammer Consulting firm.


amerigirl

Especially if you have your head in the sand.


ace10

Another nonsensical post. But thanks for trying.


tolerantleft

They hear the N-word all the time because it's in the music everyone listens to.
































amerigirl

define everyone. It's not in rock, it's not in country, (Country and rock are America's favorite music genres, according to a recent CBS News Poll) or blues or pop. I have only heard it in rap.


CindyLou

Also, I will be at the town meeting for this! I won't be hard to notice, I will be the one that is NOT wearing a white hood!!!




SkoaldudeVA

Ok, Cindy. Thanks for letting us know.


WesternSky

CindyLou -- this statement is offense to the residents of Loudoun County. YOU are the true problem.


amerigirl

Don't be so touchy, you know exactly what she meant. Didn't we have KKK fliers delivered in Loudoun? They are closer than you think.


amerigirl

Love it!


CindyLou

The teacher that said this ""One of my teachers told me to go back to my country. I was in shock. I was born here," another shared" NEEDS TO BE FIRED! I hope LCPS is investigating this and this teacher witch is fired! One of these days the "Loudoun County good ole boys club" is going to get in lots of big trouble. I am so mad after reading this article I think other groups should be notified of the "hate crimes" going on in the schools here. This is shameful.


Chris McHale

I focus on 2 of your words, "witch" and "crimes". To begin did you mean with as in witch hunt because there has been multiple reports that students of color have been disproportionately disciplined. It's not a witch hunt.







Next is that it is a civil law issue and not a crime. Please stop crying wolf on the criminal aspect.


BobOhneiserEsq

Here are just a few questions from a former school board member:



How much was spent on the Equity Collaborative Consulting Firm? Was this contract . put out to bid? If not why not?



If safe schools and knowing what is going on in the schools is REALLY desired why not have every principal produce a report to be sent monthly to the school board for public consumption listing all bullying, assaults, hate speech complaints etc?



How many discipline cases by category were reversed by the discipline committee which would be evidence the students being disciplined were not actually guilty of the underlying cause of the discipline?



Perhaps if retribution was not a real problem and parents were given the right to provide input into teacher and administrator performance evaluations the feedback loop would not be broken as implied in this article.



Perhaps the school board will make the Superintendent contract a yearly event instead of every 4 years so real evaluations of performance can occur by the group responsible for managing the Superintendent. Why has it been OK to be on the school board and not actually manage the contract controlling the only employee actually under the school board authority? I assume all 9 have read Va Code 22.1-79


Virginia SGP

Great points.


WesternSky

I have no doubt "The Equity Collaborative" is paid to find racism. I would like to see the reports to other school district to understand what they are reporting elsewhere. Would also its public -- and the Loudoun County should request and provide for context.


WesternSky

On suggestion for the n-words is to get of music generated by African American artists. I think its nuts -- and doesn't help. My son told me the other day the the word ends in 'a' its ok; but if it ends in 'er' its bad. On top of that, both words are ok to be used by African Americans ...All these 'race rule' makes it more difficult just to treat people equally.




amerigirl

I hope you don't try using that, "a" or not. People use terms all the time with people they relate to, it's different coming from a stranger.


jke

So how many time was the n-word used by black students?




DavisB

why does that matter?


amerigirl

And why do white girls call their friends sluts? Because they not using the term derogatorily. More like slang, that doesn't make it right for someone else to do it.


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