ROANOKE, Virginia (LifeSiteNews) — The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has taken an interest in the hostility surrounding a Virginia school district’s consideration of a conservative policy on transgender issues, raising questions as to whether the Biden administration intends to interfere with local education yet again.
The Daily Signal reports that last month, the Roanoke County School Board held a public meeting concerning whether to adopt a model transgender policy put forth by the Virginia Department of Education under Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin. The policy requires students to be addressed by their legal names and actual sex, as well as to use biological sex to determine which bathrooms, lockers, or athletic teams they are allowed to access.
The meeting met a hostile reception from LGBT activists, two of whom were arrested for attempting to disrupt the meeting with shouts of “protect trans lives” and refusing to leave. But despite the incident being a minor local matter, it attracted the attention of Hannah Levine with DOJ’s Community Relations Service, an entity that helps law enforcement “develop relationships and improve their interactions with transgender communities and individuals.”
“CRS is aware of ongoing community tensions in Roanoke County following the release of the new model policies for transgender students,” Levine told Roanoke County Public Schools (RCPS) in a July 31 email. “I’d like to connect to see if we might be able to offer support and services as you work to manage conflict in the community related to this.”
In response, America First Legal is seeking answers regarding DOJ’s interest in and intentions for the case.
“It is unclear why CRS would inject itself into an issue that is properly one for the Commonwealth of Virginia and Roanoke County Public Schools,” the group wrote in a Freedom of Information Act request for records pertaining to the district. “What is clear, however, is that CRS has positioned itself not as a neutral arbitrator of issues related to transgenders but as a government entity that is fully behind the Biden administration’s radical transgender agenda.”
“The Department of Justice seems to suggest that protecting the constitutional rights of parents and students will lead to ‘hate crimes,’” the group’s senior adviser Ian Prior told the Signal. “Once again, we are witnessing the top law enforcement organization in the land come unglued from reality and unmoored from its core functions, all in the name of opposing anyone that doesn’t approve of its state-approved message.”
The Biden DOJ has a history of leaning on school districts over the spread of unapproved views on education issues.
In October 2021, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memo alleging a spike in threats to educators driven by opposition to instructional materials based on “critical race theory” (CRT), which asserts that race is a “socially constructed (culturally invented) category that is used to oppress and exploit people of color” through American institutions.
That memo followed a letter by the leaders of the National School Board Association (NSBA) to President Joe Biden alleging that a smattering of examples of alleged unruly behavior at various school board meetings, all of which (if illegal) fell within the scope of local law enforcement, “could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.” Emails later showed that the White House gave feedback on the letter’s contents prior to Garland’s public reaction.
The situation elicited a harsh backlash from Americans who accused the Biden administration of using the nation’s law enforcement apparatus to intimidate concerned parents for exercising their constitutional speech and assembly rights, and it later came out that one of the letter’s chief supporting examples of “disorderly” parents, Scott Smith of Loudoun County, Virginia, was actually trying to confront school board members about the district covering up the rape of his daughter by a “transgender” student in the girls’ bathroom.