BROADLANDS, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - Controversial incidents concerning race are plaguing Loudoun County Public Schools and now the NAACP is coordinating a “stand-in” at Tuesday evening's board meeting. The protest comes amid outrage that an elementary school class was playing a runaway slave game during gym class.
Attorney and Virginia NAACP Executive Committee Member Phillip Thompson is calling for the school district’s superintendent, Dr. Eric Williams, to resign after this latest controversy.
FOX 5 has learned the “stand-in” protest will include NAACP members, parents, students and clergy who are demanding for Williams’ resignation. They are also hoping for district-wide racial sensitivity training and a zero tolerance policy toward teachers who engage in culturally offensive and insensitive activities in their teachings.
“There’s a lot of history behind all these things and Virginia actually started out as a major hub of the south and now it’s this very diverse area and we just haven’t quite caught up with that,” said Loudoun County resident Laura Fink. “I honestly don’t know if it’s coming from the superintendent or if it’s coming from the teachers or the parents. I think figuring out where it’s coming from is the first thing.”
“I think the solution might be just to try to get better understanding to what the real problem is and try to take it from there, but I mean as far as human beings, we should be able to cohabitate, one next to each other — it doesn’t matter the race or where you’re coming from,” said Carlos Ascanio.
Loudoun County Public Schools says it plans to address racism and inequity after a culturally insensitive lesson where students at Madison’s Trust Elementary in Ashburn were instructed to participate in a Black History Month activity during gym class that included escaping through an obstacle course meant to represent the Underground Railroad.
The students were in third, fourth and fifth grade and the runaway slaves reportedly included a small group with African American students.
The school district reportedly has a 52 percent minority student population Yet, we’re told 13 percent of its teachers are people of color.
"I think it’s time for the superintendent to resign, to go," said Thompson. "This guy has repeatedly ignored these issues where he could have made a strong statement."
In a statement emailed to FOX 5 Tuesday, the district admits the incident at Madison’s Trust is a symptom of a broader issue.