One local resident is putting her anger into action over fallout from challenge coins given to Loudoun County Public Schools teachers, in lieu of bonuses given to higher-level administrators.
Elizabeth Whitley, a mother of four, including two students, said she was inspired to make lemonade out of lemons following a recent conversation with her rising first grader’s teachers. Her son had spent the entire school year distance learning, but wanted to visit his teachers at the start of summer.
“We just got to discussing summer plans and somehow the conversation led to the challenge coins. The look on the teachers’ faces was just very underwhelmed,” she recalled. “I joked, ‘It’s too bad we couldn’t melt them down and make them useful and see if businesses could take them as currency’. They said ‘yeah, that would be better than sitting on my desk’.”
Whitley vowed to make it happen, and immediately began reaching out to local businesses to see if they could offer discounts or any other special perks to LCPS teachers if they show their challenge coins. The response was immediate.
“I have a list of over 40 businesses who are either giving discounts or giving things like a free coffee, up to larger items that they’ll raffle off. There’s a lot of support from the community,” she said.
The list of discounts and perks for teachers is available here. Everything from penny pints at Dirt Farm Brewing (through June 20), to free pepper spray, to raffles for wine tours, is offered.
Whitley said she is hopeful that the outpouring of support from the business community will help soften the blow from the coin controversy.
“We want to rally around [teachers] and show them they are supported, they are appreciated. If the small business owners of the community or individual people step in, that’s just what it takes,” she said.