Amid Continuing Equity Efforts, School Board Member Criticized for Comments

Loudoun School Board members huddled in a basement conference room at the Ida Lee Recreation Center last week to experience the same cultural competency and sensitivity training being rolled out to teachers and administrators throughout the school division. 

By design, the three-part workshop series pushes participants outside their comfort zones and to question their belief systems. For example, many are forced to grapple with the benefits afforded them from generations of white privilege, stretching back to America’s earliest days. When successful, the participants come away with new personal perspectives and a greater understanding of the challenge facing minority students. 

Although, the exercises typically are held out as safe spaces to examine cultural difference and biases, one School Board members is under fire for a comment he made during the Feb. 18 training session. 

During Tuesday night’s School Board meeting, Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee Chairwoman Katrece Nolen and Executive Board member Wande Oshode called for the board to take action against John Beatty (Catoctin) because of comments attributed to him during the session stating that former slaves were less well off following Reconstruction because they lacked the patronage of a master. 

“Most people in the civilized world recognize this statement as being rooted in the very racist, inhumane and oppressive institution of slavery. To justify any aspect of slavery only 66 years after Brown versus Board of Ed eliminated inequities in the public school systems, and only a year after LCPS made national news about racially-insensitive lessons and conduct by administrators, is absolutely inexcusable,” Oshode said, who called for Beatty to resign. “No parent of minority children should feel comfortable with Mr. Beatty remaining on the school board.”

Nolen called for Beatty to be removed from his positions on the Discipline Committee and the Equity Committee and for the full board to condemn the comments.

“One cannot process culture competency while holding a Pollyannaish view of slavery,” she said. “John Beatty cannot be trusted to work in the best interest of all of our children.”

Neither Beatty nor any other School Board member responded to the comments during their meeting Tuesday.

“I’m sad to see my comments were taken out of context. We were having a conversation about how freed slaves were financially mistreated after emancipation. To think, I would be in support of slavery is ludicrous and I find the accusation offensive,” Beatty said the following day.

He also sent a response by email to Nolen and Oshode: 

“I deeply regret that a comment I made was construed as suggesting that I support slavery. I do not! I abhor slavery and all the injustices that have occurred since then,” Beatty wrote. 

“In reading the quote out of context, I agree that it is offensive. However, the point I was making was not, as I was speaking to the issue of being deliberate and thoughtful before taking any actions,” he wrote. “As elected officials, we have an obligation to consider all sides of any question and to carefully consider the ramifications of any actions we take. History teaches us that if we fail to do so, our actions can have far-reaching negative consequences. I referenced the Jim Crow laws as a particularly egregious example of this, as the laws made it impossible for the recently freed slaves to support their families. To avoid making similar mistakes, we must always consider all sides of any question and think carefully about the impact of our actions. And as I have just learned, we must also guard our words to make sure that when quoted out of context, they cannot cause offense.”

4 thoughts on “Amid Continuing Equity Efforts, School Board Member Criticized for Comments

  • 2020-02-26 at 9:18 pm

    In my opinion, our taxes were used to hire a biased company to find bias, even unconscious, in Loudoun’s schools. Surprise: It found bias. I read the “study” that helped to launch the indoctrination of anyone associated with our wonderful schools. A neutral company should have hired.
    I find it insulting that anyone should be “forced to grapple” with the benefits afforded them from generations of “white privilege.” What baloney. There are too many Blacks who have succeeded in this great country.
    I watched a bio on PBS last night about the genius Miles Davis whose Black father was the second richest man in his state. I have met Blacks in Loudoun; they were pretty impressive. Did Blacks have it tough, yes; but so did many White immigrants.
    What do you really want? All minority students to get the same grades as our top-performing Asians? Do you want to hold minority students to a lower standard? To dumb down classes for equal outcomes? Pay back? Reparations? Let’s get honest.
    All students should be treated equally, but to demand equity in outcomes is a hoax. And to claim that in this day and age in Loudoun that Whites are oppressing Blacks is ludicrous.

  • 2020-02-27 at 12:42 pm

    “Although, the exercises typically are held out as safe spaces to examine cultural difference and biases, one School Board members is under fire for a comment he made during the Feb. 18 training session.”

    Beatty goes along with the tax payer funded reeducation camp style program, only to be set upon for doing what he was asked to do. Fortunately, SB member Beatty doesn’t work for an “advisory committee.” He works for the voters of the Catoctin district. If Gov. Blackface/KKK/Infanticide isn’t going away, Beatty certainly isn’t.

  • 2020-02-27 at 1:56 pm

    John Beatty is not a racist; in fact he is far from it. He is an educated gentleman who would never support racism or the disrespect of any person. His comment is historically accurate. Let’s face it, after 246 years of slavery (1619 to 1865) many slaves were socially conditioned to follow a certain system. When that system changed quickly, dramatically and forever, many of these slaves were unfortunately not prepared for such change. There was no orientation program that assisted them. As we all know, it took a period of time to heal from this moral aberration of slavery. These are historical facts, this is the truth of what really happened.
    I believe slavery is a evil beyond all measure and proud a Republican President, had the courage to abolished it. I believe we are all equal not only under the law but before each other and most importantly, before God. Conversely, my integrity and principles will not let me distort the truth to further any political agenda. On the contrary, in viewing history, it is of paramount important that we care about the truth. We should always be in search of the truth and uphold those who shed light on it; especially those in political leadership positions. For if we start down a slippery slope of creating the history that we want, per today’s political agenda, current and future generations will likely not receive the valuable lessons that history offers.

    God Be With You

  • 2020-05-21 at 12:35 am

    Many LCPS staff I know that have gone through this training report there is little to no “discussion” tolerated. It is a “lecture series” heaping on examples of bias that have since been proven false by the national media. Many have felt the training achieved the exact opposite effect it was supposed have. There are wonderful ways to incorporate equity awareness and extremely effective training, however it seems LCPS didn’t do their homework on this one.

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