When the opportunity came up to put my name in the hat for the LCPS board I thought to myself, this could be an opportunity for the school board to show the community that they’re listening.
I figured as a Puerto Rican, in a biracial marriage, with a special needs child, and employed as a public servant already that I might actually have a chance to get on the school board. Besides, LCPS has been promoting equity and diversity since 2019 after spending nearly a half million dollars on an equity collaborative report to promote equity and inclusion.
I was wrong. Despite a significant number of qualified, non-controversial candidates the school board chose yet another white male who was the ONLY candidate that was publicly excoriated by a father from Loudoun County. Given the school board is predominantly white and considered economically affluent it seems counterintuitive to have made that choice. I’m glad that one of the school board members decided to table the equity policy approval to give it more thought.
However, every cloud has a silver lining. Thus far I’ve been able to meet a lot of very morally solid parents and citizens from many demographics, which care about children. I have learned that it is not enough just to go to the school board meeting and speak passionately because all of our words are falling upon deaf ears.
I’ve learned that the only way to combat the corrupt and politicized Loudoun County School Board is through the courts and utilizing the law. The school board has clearly sent the message that they are not resigning or stepping down or doing anything to respect the will of the people.
I, like many other parents, will continue to fight for our children’s education and to restore LCPS back to its glory. Activism may be tiring and inconvenient but I do not feel I have a choice. I need not only to defend my own children’s education but more importantly to defend the rights of the voiceless in Loudoun County who are shackled to the public school system with no options.
The last time I checked, elected officials in the United States ONLY have the authority that is given to them by the people and that same authority can be taken back by the people.
Michael A. Rivera