Letter: Jessica Berg, Leesburg

Editor: I am writing as a lifelong Loudoun County resident, who has been a teacher for 11 years and now has a child in Loudoun County Public Schools, in support of School Board members Brenda Sheridan and Atoosa Reaser. 

To say that I have been dismayed and outraged at the ongoing efforts, by a small group of fear-mongering parents, to remove dedicated public servants like Ms. Sheridan and Ms. Reaser from the school board would be an understatement.

As a teacher, we look to the members of the School Board and community for support, especially during trying and challenging times like we are currently experiencing. But the only thing these ill-informed parents are doing is making our job infinitely more frustrating.

I am tired of explaining how ignorant the attack on CRT in LCPS is. It is so absurd and unfounded because it does not exist in current public-school curricula. Let me reiterate: CRT cannot be banned in LCPS because it does not exist.

As a high school English teacher, do we teach texts by diverse authors to reach our diverse student population? Yes. That is not CRT.

Do history teachers teach the facts of history, even the harsh realities of this nation like slavery, the Trail of Tears, Japanese Internment, and Jim Crow? Yes. That is not CRT.

Do we, as a school system, try to promote equity, inclusivity, and a safe space for all of our students? Yes. That is not CRT. That is just being decent human beings looking out for the best interest of all of our students.

The Fight for Schools group is not, in fact, fighting for our schools. They are fighting to hold on to their own privileged idea of this country that does not exist for all, and never has. If history has taught us anything, it is that when desperate people in a place of privilege and power see the world changing, fearing that equality for others means less for them (it doesn’t; it’s not pie), they go to extreme lengths to hold on to it.

That is why members and supporters of Fight for Schools, which number only a small percentage of the LCPS community, resort to underhanded tactics, try to take books out of classrooms, ban something that doesn’t exist, and aim violent threats at members of the school board and LCPS staff.

And my last point, one I speak to most often in my classroom, is with all of this yelling from parents, have you actually talked to the students of LCPS? Because I have. I do it every day. And guess what, students come to school aware of inequities and injustices in our nation, never having heard the concept of CRT. They see it, they read about it, and some of them have experienced it. The classroom gives them a safe space to explore, discover, and discuss these realities, hopefully finding solutions, which is the aim of education.

I thank Brenda Sheridan and Atoosa Reaser for supporting teachers and students, knowing that we are professionals and always have the best interest of our students at heart.

And, I encourage the members of Fight for Schools to first understand what happens in classrooms across the county before grabbing their pitchforks and lighting their tiki torches.

Jessica Berg, Leesburg

24 thoughts on “Letter: Jessica Berg, Leesburg

    • 2022-01-15 at 1:38 am
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      Ms Berg I found your “letter” to be very disingenuous. Your letter drips with hysteria. Critical Race Theory (or by it’s new name Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) groups people according to ethnicity to assuming that bias is always causing oppression in one’s community are parts of a worldview which is itself a subset of a larger philosophy known as “Critical Theory.” German intellectuals developed Critical Theory in the 1920s in an attempt to find the purest form of Marxism after their frustration that socialism had not taken hold in Germany. Recall how the socialist Adolph Hitler created a conflict between the German Jewish community and the rest of the German population.

      CRT or DEI it is the same stuff. We have many many examples of school children coming home distraught because they are white and therefore racist and evil. In my particular case I do not believe you when you say CRT is not being taught in Loudoun County schools. Stop teaching white children they are oppressors and teach children of color they are oppressed. And, if you cannot stop, then please move to California and teach elsewhere.

      You insult my intelligence when you insult parents who support fighting for our schools. And, it is not a small number either. We just elected three Republicans to the Virginia executive branch and took back control of the House of Delegates. I recall Ms. Sheridan has served on the board 10 years, she needs to retire. And Ms. Reaser is a Democrat party activists. She has no business serving on the board when it is plain to see she has a political agenda. School boards are not about political activism it is about the education, safety, and well being of our children.

      I will ignore your rants about the parents of Fight for our Schools. Clearly, you believe that the white race has oppressed all non-whites and we are hopelessly racist and evil. I imagine you support changing the US into a socialist country with the Great Reset. You cry about slavery, the Trail of Tears, Japanese Internment, and Jim Crow. All of these bad deeds done by Democrats. You left out the KKK, the military arm of the Democrat party after the Civil War, as well the the Antifa, the Nazi brown shirts of today’s Democrat party.

      You also leave out the 70 million people who lost their lives during WW2, including some odd 10 million exterminated by the socialist Nazis. Then there are the purges in the Soviet Union. Stalin starved 6 or so million Ukrainians in the 1930’s. Took their food. Conducted purges and is estimated to have killed 20 million people during his rein. Let us not forget Mao’s China, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Watch a movie Fire in Winter of the Ukraine orange revolution, or the Cubans in the streets waving signs that say FREEDOM and the stars and stripes. The sins of this nation over it’s entire history are pale compared to the torture and killing of the socialists governments both past and present. My wife is Ukrainian, she and the children lived socialism. I have been to Ukraine and seen socialism up close and personal. Wonderful people who live hard lives every day.

      It is plain as day that members of the school board have a political agenda. As did the Virginia Department of Education. Fight for Schools is more than opposing DEI being taught in our schools. I sat on a board for a cooperative day care center for 6 years. I have sat on boards of private companies. Members of this board created a private Facebook group and schemed to make an enemies list of parents who oppose them and carry out attacks against them. They published names, with the names of children so their supporters know who the enemies were. A letter was sent to at least one parent’s employer calling her a racist and other ugly names. A board member’s authority is only 1) at board meetings, and 2) working for a board committee. Anything else is violation of their fudiciary duties and subject to expulsion or recall.

      Then let’s look at the board’s misguided LGBTQ+ policy. You don’t allow boys of any age in the restrooms and dressing rooms of girls. I say again, you don’t allow boys of any age in the restrooms and dressing rooms of girls. I know this, you may not, I know this because there was a time when I was a boy. The coverup of the sexual assault by the superintendent and the board is grounds for the lot of them to be fired and charges pressed. What made things worse was they put the boy in a different school and he committed sexual assault AGAIN. On top of that we read reports of teen boys and girls having sex in the girls restrooms after school. And, I thought growing up in the 60’s was wild. At least we were 16 (need drivers license) and took it to the local drive-in theater.

      But, the urge to implement the political agenda was too strong. Ohhhh the LGBTQ+ policy was for good intentions and the greater good. Hmmmm the needs of the many outweigh the safety of the many? Is that it?

      I will leave you with one question. What is the difference between the LCPS board and the Boy Scouts? The answer is the Boy Scouts has adult leadership. Members of this board and the superintendent must GO.

      • 2022-01-15 at 1:45 am
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        oops …. should have written the needs of the very few outweigh the safety of the many?

      • 2022-01-18 at 11:50 am
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        The Nazi party was not Socialist, they only attempted to call themselves that until Hitler gained power. … To quote from Britanica … “Hitler allied himself with leaders of German conservative and nationalist movements, and in January 1933 German President Paul von Hindenburg appointed him chancellor. Hitler’s Third Reich had been born, and it was entirely fascist in character. Within two months Hitler achieved full dictatorial power through the Enabling Act. In April 1933 communists, socialists, democrats, and Jews were purged from the German civil service, and trade unions were outlawed the following month. That July Hitler banned all political parties other than his own, and prominent members of the German Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party were arrested and imprisoned in concentration camps.

        • 2022-01-18 at 6:08 pm
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          You say the Nazis are not socialists, but that is because you don’t want to be labeled a Nazi. Sending people to concentration camps, killing innocent people by the millions who disagree with them is what socialists do.

          Visit the The Holodomor Memorial to Victims of the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide of 1932–1933.
          The Russian Army took the harvest away from Ukrainian farmers to feed starving Russians.
          The memorial was built by the National Park Service and the Ukrainian government to honor the victims of the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide of 1932–33 and to educate the American public.

          The memorial is located near the U.S. Capitol building at the intersection of North Capitol Street, Massachusetts Avenue, and F Street N.W. It is diagonal to the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum, about one block from Union Station.

          In socialism everyone is equal or so they tell us, but in fact some are more equal than others. It would seem Ukrainians were less equal than their Russian brothers and sisters. To me socialist=facist.

  • 2022-01-13 at 11:33 am
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    In 2015, under then-Governor McAuliffe (D), the Virginia Dept of Education distributed a training program which showed the following bullet point:
    ‘Embrace Critical Race Theory”
    And went on to suggest a strategy of “Re-egineer(ing) attutudes and belief systems.”

    Was that an internet hoax or something that was actually created for Virginia schools?

    What about the 2020 invoice paid by LCPS from “The Equity Collaborative?”
    The one with the line item “Coaching support for LCPS leaders – follow up meetings
    focused on Critical Race Theory Development May 2020”

    Reasonable people are justified in doubting everything you’ve written.

      • 2022-01-14 at 4:01 pm
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        We should be so lucky as to have LCPS teach CRT. It’s a GOOD thing.

        But no, it’s not taught in our schools. Show me where it is in the SOLs.

    • 2022-01-14 at 8:25 am
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      Read your own post, coaching for LCPS leaders NOT students. And why wouldn’t we pay for the professional development of our teachers and staff?!?! Almost every business that deals with people, employees people provide sensitivity , unconscious bias , inclusion & diversity training. It’s even mandatory at the better companies. It’s time to evolve and get current with the times. This isn’t about one race being superior over another, it’s simply about expanding one’s cultural competency to be more socially/culturally/racially aware, ergo a more empathetic human and better contributor to the greater good. The world needs more of that, especially Loudoun county and that Prior group with their pitchforks. Time to lay those down and extend one’s hand, heart and mind to the other side. Remove the fear and listen to the experience. We don’t have to agree but we can work to understand and conduct ourselves civilly.

      • 2022-01-14 at 12:29 pm
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        It’s called training the trainers. An entirely typical way to push programs down throughout an organization.
        I noticed you didn’t deny that the CRT training occurred.

        • 2022-01-14 at 5:44 pm
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          No not even close to a train the trainer. You clearly are not an L&D professional.

      • 2022-01-15 at 1:54 am
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        Well James King I hate to burst your bubble but a contract worth some odd $500K was awarded sole source to conduct a study of racism in LCPS. I read their report, I did not see signs of systemic racism identified in their report. Racist remarks between two or more angry boys is not systemic racism. Oh and the contractor was billing $600 an hour. I recall they are suppose to receive a $6 million sole source contract for the next couple of years.

        A LCPS proposed calendar for 2022-23 has lots and lots of holidays. 3 in October as well as many many county wide teacher training days, and school wide teacher training days. Given the results of the November election I imagine the calendar is going change.

  • 2022-01-13 at 11:38 am
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    This is the same teacher who has developed and taught a “Women and Gender studies” class for four years at the high school level. We are cancelling advanced math classes across the commonwealth but we are paying teachers to do women and gender studies. That may help explain why testing scores are flat or falling.

    The schools, and teachers like Ms. Berg are failing their students and the parents of Loudoun County. Take your children out of public schools.

    • 2022-01-14 at 8:39 am
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      Oh Tim, sigh. Hey it’s 2022. You say womens/gender studies as if it they are dirty words.
      How many careers require advanced mathematics? And how many women are in the world? How many boys have mothers, sisters, aunts? If you are going to be deductive, why not start with the sports teams? Why do we need funding for that when a small amount of students participate because every student, every gender could benefit from a woman’s studies/genders studies course. What you learn in these types of courses impacts everyone and is pervasive in all areas of life. I can’t say the same for advanced mathematics or high school football. You are woefully ignorant and just plain wrong when you say we need less teachers like Jessica Berg. You have no clue the impact Jessica has had on multiple children’s lives. She truly cares for the students, extends herself to advocate on their behalf and is a beacon to many, giving them words to define their experience, acceptance and love. So no, your done on the topic of Jessica Berg!

  • 2022-01-13 at 2:48 pm
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    I couldn’t agree more with Jessica Berg. Unfortunately, racism is alive & well in Loudoun. We must teach students the truth. A prominent Loudoun blogger recently claimed Black students aren’t proficient in math & science. Does the gentleman know how many inventions came about due to Black folks? Those inventions include the automatic shoe-lasting machine; the street sweeper; the refrigerator system for trucks, airplanes, boats & trains; the traffic signal; life-saving gas masks; underwater canons that make it possible to launch torpedoes from submarines; the electric lamp; and the automatic lubrication system for locomotive engines. Happy MLK Day Loudoun!

    • 2022-01-15 at 2:16 am
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      I was in Navy Officer Candidate School in 1972. We had a number of black cadets in my class. They were all failing navigation, engineering etc. All of it a lack of confidence. One black cadet stood out, Terry Wingo. It would not surprise me to learn that he made admiral. The liberal protocol is to tell blacks that they are inferior and society must lessen it’s standards for you to succeed. Bull … all students should be told again and again …. apply yourself, dig in and get it done. You can do this.

  • 2022-01-13 at 4:24 pm
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    excellent letter. the school board is being bullied and doesn’t know how to handle it. Ms Sheridan has been brave but she is one person. Mr Hoyler seems willing to listen and learn. but the damage that is being done by the bullies is real and traumatic. School board, sorry, but you cannot take the easy way out and just give up. Enforce the rules. Stand up for students even when it means you have to stand up to some parents.

    • 2022-01-15 at 2:08 am
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      You are soooooo wrongggggg this board attempted to cover up a sexual assault, then in doing so gave the perp a chance to sexually assault a different girl at a different school. Private facebook groups organized to attack parents who opposed them? This is a school board and superintendent with a radical political agenda. They need to be flushed.

  • 2022-01-13 at 5:07 pm
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    When your class is over do you stand in the hallway to make sure there is no bullying? Have you ever given student’s homework on a topic not already covered in class as required by policy? Have you ever offered to contact parents of a child with no at-home English speaking parents offering to explain what the student needs to accomplish? Have you ever had a parent not show up for a parent teacher conference and find out why not? Have you ever refused to respond to an after hours request from a student for help? If ANY of these questions can be answered with a constructive answer (without excuses) you are my hero and I hope everyone listens to your input. Unfortunately, far too many teachers are maximizing their hourly pay by running out of the building at the end of the day, ignoring the bullying they either hear about or see and push work home that should be done in class just to stay out of SOL trouble.

  • 2022-01-14 at 10:46 am
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    Remember, these people hollering loudest about the phantom menace of CRT elected people like the freshman Republican from Stuart, Virginia who just introduced legislation requiring Virginia teachers to teach students about the Abraham Lincoln-Frederick Douglass debates.

    Really.

    • 2022-01-15 at 1:02 pm
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      No, this is absolutely not the case. The Virginia Legislative Services introduced the textual error into the correctly worded bill (HB781) introduced by the new Delegate. The VLS administration has publicly admitted to introducing the error. And yet you still blame the innocent party. You are either grossly ignorant of these facts or willfully lying about this. But that’s what folks like you do.

  • 2022-01-15 at 6:14 am
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    With teachers like this it is incumbent on the School Board to oversee hiring practices as the current ones have failed.

    • 2022-01-18 at 6:32 pm
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      Norges53 it is painful to see how screwed up our school system has become. Just a few short years ago it was considered one of the best in the country. Anyone who bought a house in Loudoun county based on scores by Greatschools.org may be sorely disappointed they did.

      Personally, if the parents of Loudoun county want their schools back then they should fight to establish a number of committees where parents review school sylibuses, audit classes (my son is taking Virginia & US Government and received several days of instructions on socialism), review library books. Interview new teacher candidates. Interview new administrators. And, a parent committee should investigate every candidate for the LCPB and publish a brief.

      Once you understand the dangers of Woke and you take action against wokeness, then you are AWAKE.

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