August 28, 2020
ASHBURN, Va. -- Today, on the 57th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech, the Loudoun County School Board and the Superintendent of the Loudoun County Public Schools announce more details regarding plans to apologize for the fact that Loudoun was one of the last school systems in the nation to desegregate its schools.
“Officially recognizing our wrongdoing, taking responsibility for that wrongdoing, and formally and authentically expressing remorse is important,” said Brenda Sheridan, Chair of the Loudoun County School Board. “Accelerating action steps to combat systemic racism is even more important.”
“Even as Americans drew inspiration from Dr. King’s call for unity and equal treatment under the law, Loudoun County actively resisted the legal and moral requirement to integrate its schools for over a decade, following more than a century of documented inequities between schools serving white students and those serving Black students,” said Dr. Eric S. Williams, superintendent of Loudoun County Public Schools. “We can’t erase history, but we can acknowledge and apologize for this institution’s role in sustaining a system that disrespected Loudoun’s Black citizens and devalued their human potential.”
The formal apology, which will be issued in September, will be accompanied by a video presentation that describes the history of segregation in Loudoun County public schools, as well as the potential community impact of the apology from the perspective of Black citizens of Loudoun who are directly connected to the school system.
The Loudoun County School Board has invited the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors to participate in the formal apology. The agenda for the Board of Supervisors meeting on September 1 includes official consideration of joining the Loudoun County School Board in a formal statement of apology for the operation of segregated schools in Loudoun County. The Board of Supervisors agenda item includes the statement that “Board Leadership polled the Board regarding their interest in joining the School Board in the issuance of the apology and determined that the Board’s interest is positive.”
LCPS commits to additional actions that sustain and accelerate its efforts to improve equity and eliminate racism from its schools. More information about Loudoun County Public Schools’ equity related programs is available online at www.lcps.org/EquityOverview.
Loudoun County Public Schools is the third largest school division in the Commonwealth of Virginia. More information is available online at www.lcps.org.