On Wednesday night, left-wing CNN host Don Lemon “interviewed” the chairwoman of Virginia's Loudoun County School Board, Brenda Sheridan, about a school board meeting that occurred Tuesday night before it was quickly shut down to public comment as parents and citizens rejected the teaching of radical critical race theory.
“I know this has to be -- this is a very busy and frustrating time for you,” Lemon sympathized as he began the softball exchange with Sheridan. He wondered: "You were there last night. What did you think when this was happening?”
“What was I thinking,” answered Sheridan, “I never thought a school board meeting could ever erupt into such violence. We had a meeting two weeks prior on June 8th so we knew that tensions were high.”
The alleged “violence” she was referring to was that two people were arrested after the police came to the board meeting and declared it an “unlawful assembly.” Those arrests did not occur until much later, after the board ended public comment because conservative attendees were cheering on other conservative speakers.
Parents in Loudoun County came to speak out against Policy 8040 regarding transgender students and critical race theory being taught in the northern Virginia county's public school system. Many also attended the school board meeting to support Tanner Cross, a P.E. teacher who was fired for stating he did not support Policy 8040 and would not call kids by whatever gender pronoun they want. While a local judge ruled he could not be fired, the board has been trying to repeal that decision.
“I hope that we are a reflection of the greater United States that our county is diverse and that we would celebrate that,” said Sheridan after Lemon asked her if Loudoun County taught critical race theory in schools. She dismissed the objections: “I think perhaps people can be uncomfortable with change of any kind.”
“How frustrating is it for educators to be dealing with B.S?” Lemon wailed. Sheridan responded:
Well, it's incredibly frustrating and the outrage it caused and passion it incites and the organized disruption has prevented us from being able to engage with the public and allow them to have that public comment where they're able to engage with the school board and express their concerns and feelings on any topic and so having to shut down public comment last night is the last thing we wanted to do. But we were not going to be able to keep the room safe.
Lemon ended the interview by declaring: “Yeah. Brenda, best of luck to you. I'm sorry you're having to deal with this.”
Don Lemon Tonight
DON LEMON: I want to bring in Brenda Sheridan. Thank you so much. I know this has to be -- this is a very busy and frustrating time for you. You were there last night. What did you think when this was happening?
BRENDA SHERIDAN: What was I thinking? I never thought a school board meeting could ever erupt into such violence. We had a meeting two weeks’ prior on June 8th so we knew that tensions were high. It was our first in person meeting since COVID where we allowed public to stay in the room and we knew tensions were high over our transgender policy. We knew tensions are continuing to be high over the falsehood being promoted that we have CRT in our curriculum and we did our best. I did my best at the beginning of public comment when I introduced it to keep the crowd calm and to also set expectations that we were going to maintain decorum in the room and the video is not what happened.
LEMON: Listen. Can we do fact checking? I was looking at something I want to share with you, if I have time. Let do some fact checking. Once people say critical race theory teaches children to hate one another. That's wrong. It teaches people to examine through the lens of race but before you get to where it is, is critical race theory even being taught in your schools?
SHERIDAN: No, it is not. We have a session on our equity plan. We held a work session a couple weeks ago and I pointedly asked the superintendent and said is it being caught in our curriculum. Once again, over and over again it is no.
LEMON: So, Brenda, 62 of your school are majority minority. Seven more are within a percentage of majority minority. Is this why you're seeing this backlash?
SHERIDAN: I hope not. I lived in Loudoun county for 23 years and I truly hope not. I hope that we are a reflection of the greater United States that our county is diverse and that we would celebrate that. I think perhaps people can be uncomfortable with change of any kind. I really hope that this is not what is doing this. I hope that -- I hope that it is maybe coming out of the pandemic and people were having trouble coping and someone latched on to this and it's erupted.
LEMON: Okay. This is coming from a conservative think tank, a Heritage Foundation and they have an entire page dedicated to critical race theory including institutionalizing across American society and purging whiteness to purge capitalism and the left is implementing critical theory in schools. If you combine that with what you see on the Fox News channel when it comes to CRT, these kind the of places where this misinformation is coming from.
SHERIDAN: I believe so. I believe that Loudoun county in particular in our school system is being used as a hub to promote these falsehoods and it is unfortunate because we are a stellar school system. We are one of the top school systems in the country, and we are being promoted as something we are not, teaching something we are not and asking people to reflect their own lives and the ease with which they are able to succeed compared to someone who has been part of the marginalized group is uncomfortable.
SHERIDAN: But it is a good practice and something we should teach our youth.
LEMON: This is what I said if I could get to it. I won't say exactly where it is or who it is but it may change the -- I'm not going to say names here. I'm wondering how frustrating this is because when your job is to teach kids. I got in from a friend that says a couple months ago, my sibling who is -- who works in a public school system I won't say where is part of a workshop held by teachers, standard and dealing with kids and parents that might come from different backgrounds two. Days later one of the school board members who happens to be I won't say what they do wrote a letter in the paper saying they were teaching critical race theory. My sibling gave them the entire curriculum of the workshop, wanted to give them and they declined and didn't want it. Never really heard of it and they spent three months, the person that works in the school system at a series of meetings telling people they are not teaching it because they are not teaching it. It occupies so much of my sibling's time and energy three months on ward when they are not teaching it. How frustrating is it for educators to be dealing with B.S. They're not even teaching because it's being stirred up by politicians and propaganda on so-called news networks?
SHERIDAN: Well, it's incredibly frustrating and the outrage it caused and passion it incites and the organized disruption has prevented us from being able to engage with the public and allow them to have that public comment where they're able to engage with the school board and express their concerns and feelings on any topic and so having to shut down public comment last night is the last thing we wanted to do. But we were not going to be able to keep the room safe.
LEMON: Yeah. The tension in the room was explosive like you said. I cut you off.
SHERIDAN: It was.
LEMON: Yeah. Brenda, best of luck to you. I'm sorry you're having to deal with this.