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‘You’re actually advertising suicide’: Parents push back against Social Emotional Learning in school


A new front in the educational culture wars has broken out, as parents hit out at schools teaching Social Emotional Learning (SEL) which they fear is becoming a Trojan horse for CRT.

Supporters of SEL say that it is an essential tool for the development of young people – National University describes it as ‘a methodology that helps students of all ages to better comprehend their emotions, to feel those emotions fully, and demonstrate empathy for others.’

SEL classes are designed to help the youngest children give voice to their feelings and emotions; older children will discuss mental health, sexuality and race.

The concept was popularized following the 1995 publication of Daniel Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence. Goleman believed there was too much emphasis in schools on intellectual achievement, and not enough attention paid to encouraging qualities such as self-awareness and impulse control, persistence, zeal and self-motivation, empathy and social deftness.

Yet critics are beginning to question the introduction of SEL in schools.

A September 27 meeting of Carroll Independent School District in Southlake, Texas, saw an angry mother, Tara Eddins, called for an end to the program. 

Tara Eddins, a mother in Texas, is pictured speaking out at a Carroll Independent School District meeting on September 27. She said that SEL programs were designed to ‘advertise suicide’

Protestors condemning Critical Race Theory stand outside a rally in Loudoun County, Virginia, on June 12. SEL is seen as a new front in the culture wars

Protestors condemning Critical Race Theory stand outside a rally in Loudoun County, Virginia, on June 12. SEL is seen as a new front in the culture wars

Anti-CRT protesters in New Mexico are seen on November 12. Now parents are worried about SEL

Anti-CRT protesters in New Mexico are seen on November 12. Now parents are worried about SEL

‘Why are we hiring counsellors grades five through 12 at $90k a pop?’ she asked. 

‘At Carroll ISD, you are actually advertising suicide.’

She said that less attention should be paid to mental health, and more to academic criteria. 

‘Counsellors need to get back to the business of prepping our kids for higher learning. Not promoting suicide,’ she said.

‘These kids are trying to get through the day – get through compacted math, algebra, go to cotillion on Sunday – they are not thinking about these issues.’  

Southlake Families PAC, which campaigns against SEL, then sent an email to supporters calling on the school district to ‘leave mental health and parenting to parents.’

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 2,756 minors died by suicide in 2019, the most recent year for which data are available.

Suicide was the second-leading cause of death among children. 

What is SEL? 

SEL stands for Social Emotional Learning, or Social and Emotional Literacy.

It is designed to encourage children to talk about their feelings, and learn how to manage their emotions.

Older students are given skills to discuss sexuality, and some are asked to think about race and racism.

Some parents say that it is a vital tool in helping young people grow into well-adjusted adults.

But others say that it is better left to parents. 

Early CDC data from 2020 show that the number of children who visited emergency rooms for suicide attempts increased by 31 per cent compared to a year earlier, supporting the theory that isolation in the pandemic harmed young peoples’ mental health.

In Indiana, meanwhile, the town of Carmel has seen activists protest at school board meetings this fall, NBC reported – demanding that a district fire its mental health coordinator from what they said was a ‘dangerous, worthless’ job. 

In June 2019, Carmel Clay School District hired Stephanie Whiteside as their first mental health coordinator. She has hired a series of therapists, and more than 400 students have participated in therapy sessions in the last 14 months, according to the district.

Alvin Lui, who co-founded a group called Unify Carmel, circulated dossiers about Whiteside that included an analysis of posts she had liked or shared on social media.

He said she was anti-police, and said that SEL was ‘an extremely deceptive indoctrination system.’ 

He said the school did not need therapists, as they should ‘involve parents if there’s an issue.’

He added: ‘But focus the kids on academics. 

‘Focus them on something productive and useful so that they feel competent and confident that they’re doing well in school. 

‘They shouldn’t be questioning their gender identity and worrying about marching and worrying about social justice.’

On September 30, Carmel Clay Schools wrote to parents lamenting the presence of an ‘outside group’ at their board session, which ‘deliberately orchestrated multiple disruptions to the business portion of the meeting.’

They said: ‘When the Board called for a recess, the group booed, began name-calling, and continued their rude and inappropriate behavior. 

‘Claims that the Board and administrators were trying to silence parents were remarkably unfounded given the evening’s agenda contained four opportunities for public comments.’

Stephanie Whiteside was hired in June 2019 to recruit therapists for schools. Her work has been derided as 'worthless' and she has been threatened and abused online

Stephanie Whiteside was hired in June 2019 to recruit therapists for schools. Her work has been derided as ‘worthless’ and she has been threatened and abused online

Alvin Lui has co-founded a group called Unify Carmel, campaigning against SEL in schools

Alvin Lui has co-founded a group called Unify Carmel, campaigning against SEL in schools 

The school district accused the organizers of the anti-SEL protest of attempting to ‘scare and intimidate the hard-working individuals who put in hundreds of hours to meet the needs of the students.’

‘Board members have had their home addresses posted in acts of intimidation. Teachers have received letters and emails with threats of violence and unwarranted references to family members. School librarians and media specialists have been steadily under attack with accusations,’ they said. 

‘We must return to civility and question those who find these tactics appropriate.’ 

They also strongly defended Whiteside.

‘She has genuinely saved students’s lives,’ the board said. 

‘The group published threatening posts that disparaged her and demanded her resignation. 

‘One far-fetched post claimed she favored defunding the police. She not only works closely with CPD but is also married to a police officer.’

On October 28 in Whiteland, Indiana, the president of activist group Purple for Parents, Rhonda Miller, told the group that SEL was ‘the gateway to the LGBT agenda’. 

She said: ‘The schools are too dangerous. 

‘They are doing exactly what they were designed to do. They’re not broken. 

‘When you go back and you look at the history of public education, it’s doing exactly what it was designed to do, which was to take our system down from within.’

Rhonda Miller, president of the Purple for Parents group, is pictured in Whiteland, Indiana, on October 28

Rhonda Miller, president of the Purple for Parents group, is pictured in Whiteland, Indiana, on October 28

In Fairfax County, Virginia, some parents expressed alarm at $1.8 million being spent on a five-year contract with Panorama Education, a Boston-based company, to survey students districtwide about their emotional well-being. 

Parents can choose to prevent their children from taking the survey, which has questions like: ‘Overall, how much do you feel like you belong at your school?’

Middle and high school students are asked about their sexuality and gender identities, plus – in some cases – their experience of racism.

Panorama said the questionnaires are ‘not a tool for teaching critical race theory,’ adding that it ‘does not market, sell, or rent any student’s personal information’ to any outside companies.

Asra Nomani, the vice president of Parents Defending Education, said schools should not require consultants to discuss students’ mental health, and argued that it was not appropriate to ask children about their sexuality.

‘What we need to do is to separate the authenticity of social and emotional learning from the activist, divisive agendas of profiteer consulting groups that are basically using our children to increase their bottom line,’ she said.

She told NBC that the money spent to hire companies like Panorama could instead be used to hire more school counselors and therapists.

‘It took a turn in the summer of 2020, after the tragedy of George Floyd’s killing,’ said Nomani.

She said SEL had become ‘a vehicle for this quote-unquote ‘social justice activism’ and the indoctrination of controversial ideas related to race, sexuality and even gender and identity.’ 

And the movement against SEL has found fertile ground online. 

‘SEL sets students up to be ‘counseled’ to believe things that go against what their parents have taught them,’ write one group, No Left Turn in Education, in a October 31 post.

They argue that SEL is pushing children to see themselves as gender fluid, and can expose children to grooming and sexual assault. 

‘There are parents who raise their children with traditional family values and a biblical worldview only to have that shattered by adults in authority at school. Do you see it?

‘SEL is dangerous. It may not lead to a sexual assault by an adult, but it will likely lead to some serious mental health struggles for many young people. 

‘Look at the staggering number of very young women who now identify as transgender or gender fluid. Have you wondered why this is? SEL is not the only cause, but it is certainly contributing to some of the identity issues of our day.’

One mother tweeted: ‘This is some of Panorama Ed user guide explaining SEL is a bunch of touchy-feely unlicensed mental health surveys replete w Critical Race Theory verbiage like ‘systemic forces of racism and racial bias’ and ‘lived experience’ and ‘equitable.’ All RI schools data mine ur kids.’ 

Kandiss Taylor, running for the governor of Georgia next year as a Republican, tweeted: ‘Let’s vote for who represents us BEST! A hardworking, non politician, public school educator who will ensure CRT, SEL, CSE or any other communistic, evil, divisive curriculum will never be taught in GA will do just fine.’

Yet other parents and teachers have expressed dismay at the backlash against SEL. 

Christina Edmiston, a mother in Southlake, Texas, whose son was suicidal after coming out as bisexual, said she was grateful for the support, and there should be more.

‘I personally cannot understand why a parent would not want their child to understand – even if their child doesn’t have any mental health issues – … what depression looks like, what anxiety looks like,’ Edmiston said. 

‘That doesn’t make sense to me, as a mom, as someone who’s a part of society.’

And in Carmel, Indiana, a mother who set up a group supporting the effort, Amal Anthony, said she was baffled by the backlash.

‘It’s absolutely terrifying to think that our kids could be out there without the access to the things that they need,’ she said. 

‘Because while we all like to think that our kids are going to come to us first, sometimes that’s not the reality.’ 

EXCLUSIVE: Skirt-wearing teenage boy who was found guilty of raping female classmate in Loudon County school’s girl’s bathroom pleads NO CONTEST to groping another girl’s breasts at his new high school months later

The skirt-wearing Virginia boy who was found guilty of raping a female classmate in a school bathroom in May has pleaded no contest to sexually assaulting a second student in October, clearing the way for him to be sentenced for both crimes next month. 

Details of the second incident, which involved the 15-year-old dragging another girl into an empty classroom and touching her breasts, were revealed on Monday in Loudoun County juvenile court. 

The defendant, wearing a green t-shirt and brown pants with his hair pulled back into a ponytail, sat silently as the prosecution laid out the second case. 

His mother sat just behind him in the courtroom, and the rape victim from May sat with her parents in the back row, wincing as the details were revealed.

Deputy county attorney Barry Zweig said the October incident started with the boy and victim walking down the hallway at Broad Run High School toward his class that was about to begin. 

A skirt-wearing teenage boy who was last month found guilty of raping a female classmate was later in May, pleaded no contest on Monday to sexually assaulting a second girl at Broad Run High School (pictured) in Ashburn, Loudon County, Virginia, in October

A skirt-wearing teenage boy who was last month found guilty of raping a female classmate was later in May, pleaded no contest on Monday to sexually assaulting a second girl at Broad Run High School (pictured) in Ashburn, Loudon County, Virginia, in October

The 15-year-old was formerly a student Stone Bridge High School where he was accused of raping a female classmate in the girl's bathroom in May

The 15-year-old was formerly a student Stone Bridge High School where he was accused of raping a female classmate in the girl’s bathroom in May  

The case became the searing tip of a raging debate in Loudoun County over transgender students' rights and parents' freedom of speech

The case became the searing tip of a raging debate in Loudoun County over transgender students’ rights and parents’ freedom of speech

The girl joked that he was going to miss his class and the teen became upset at her chiding him, Zweig said, explaining to her that he was new to the school. He then pushed her into an empty room next door.

‘He wrapped his arm around her and pulled her into the classroom,’ Zweig said.

In the room, he allegedly put his arm around her neck and hand over her mouth, making it difficult to breathe. 

He put his hands up the back of her shirt, then reached in front and slipped his hands under her bra.

They spent about 10 minutes in the room, then left together, the prosecutor said. 

The girl then texted a classmate, who met her in a bathroom. The two then reported the incident to a school resource officer.

The boy, who was arrested later that day, was charged as a juvenile with abduction and sexual battery, the adult equivalents of a felony and misdemeanor, respectively.

He pleaded no contest to both charges, but claimed he didn’t cover her mouth or choke her. He admitted he grabbed her breasts, but said he only touched her over her clothing.

Hallway video shows him pushing her into the class, but there was no camera footage inside the room, the prosecution said.

The first victim's parents were ridiculed by the left after her father Scott Smith was pictured being dragged out of a school board meeting on June 22. They say they now feel vindicated

The first victim’s parents were ridiculed by the left after her father Scott Smith was pictured being dragged out of a school board meeting on June 22. They say they now feel vindicated

Scott Smith, the father of the first female victim, was pictured with a bloody mouth, being dragged out of a school board meeting on June 22 - a month after the attack - after listening to school officials say no one had been sexually assaulted in the bathrooms when that's what his daughter had reported the previous month

Scott Smith, the father of the first female victim, was pictured with a bloody mouth, being dragged out of a school board meeting on June 22 – a month after the attack – after listening to school officials say no one had been sexually assaulted in the bathrooms when that’s what his daughter had reported the previous month

In court, the boy, wearing a white face mask, only spoke once when the judge asked if he had any questions.

‘No, man,’ he said, before he was lead out of the courtroom and returned to the juvenile detention center. He will be sentenced on both cases December 13.

After Monday’s hearing, the boy’s mother didn’t comment on the incident but said she’s hoping her son gets the help he needs.

‘He’s young, he has a lot of learning to do,’ she told reporters outside the courtroom. 

‘I hope he’s given the opportunity to do so and prove he can do better and be better.’ 

Meanwhile, Loudoun County Commonwealth’s attorney Buta Biberaj said afterwards that he has yet to decide what sentence he will recommend, noting he wants to hear what the juvenile probation department recommends and see the results of a psychosexual evaluation of the boy.

‘All we have is the facts of the case, we don’t have the facts of the person,’ he said.

The Virginia school district was thrust into the national spotlight earlier this year over allegations the skirt-wearing boy raped a female classmate at Stone Bridge High School, which he originally attended before being transferred to Broad Run after the incident.

The story exploded when Scott Smith, the father of the rape victim, was dragged out of a school board meeting with a bloodied mouth on June 22 after listening to school officials deny that a girl had been sexually assaulted in the bathroom after his daughter had reported the rape. 

After Monday’s hearing, the girl’s mother, Jessica Smith, issued a statement regarding the second conviction of her daughter’s assailant, which read, in part: ‘My daughter’s struggle, and that of our family, still continues. We will not stop, we will not rest, until all who are responsible for this tragedy are held accountable.

‘Today’s court ruling is not the end to this story. My husband and I, along with our daughter, will continue to fight for what is both right and just in our Title IX lawsuit against the Loudoun County School Board, so that no child, and no parent, will ever have to suffer what we have as a result of the misguided policies of our local government officials.’

Last month the mother of the convicted boy revealed her son doesn’t identify as a female, and that his skirt wasn’t just some disguise to slip into the girl’s bathroom.

Speaking exclusively with DailyMail.com, the mom, who asked not to be identified for the sake of her underage son, defended his actions as that of a heterosexual, hormonal teen who, in the case of the rape, had consensual sex with the girl twice before.

‘He’s a 15-year-old boy that wanted to have sex in the bathroom, with somebody that was willing,’ she declared, sitting in an empty kitchen in her townhouse in Loudoun County, Virginia.

‘And they’re twisting this just enough to make it a political hot button issue.’ 

The case became the searing tip of a raging debate in Loudoun County over transgender students’ rights and parents’ freedom of speech. 

Outraged parents are pictured at the meeting where the victim’s father was dragged out and arrested. His mother said his actions were that of a heterosexual, hormonal teen, who had consensual sex with the girl twice before

Terry McAuliffe

The scandal even entered Virginia's race for governor, giving life to the campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin who accused the Loudon school board of a coverup while warning, 'What tragedy next awaits our children?'

The scandal even entered Virginia’s race for governor, giving life to the campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin (right) who accused the Loudon school board of a coverup. His opponent Terry McAuliffe is seen (left) 

The school board has been routinely accused of pushing an ultra-liberal agenda on kids and parents and silencing those who disagree with them.

The scandal even entered Virginia’s race for governor, giving life to the campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin who accused the Loudon school board of a coverup while warning, ‘What tragedy next awaits our children?’

Despite his androgynous style and declaration that he’s ‘pansexual,’ the boy’s mother insisted he isn’t the gender fluid boogeyman in a culture war about transgender policies.

‘He would wear a skirt one day and then the next day, he would wear jeans and a t-shirt, a Polo or hoodie,’ she explained. ‘He was trying to find himself and that involved all kinds of styles. I believe he was doing it because it gave him attention he desperately needed and sought.’

At the same time, she concedes her son is deeply troubled, acknowledging his extensive history of misbehavior that included sending nude photos of himself to a girl in fifth grade.   

From rape to sentencing: Timeline of teen boy in skirt  

May 28: Teen, 15, wearing a skirt allegedly rapes female classmate in girl’s bathroom. She reports it to the principal. Superintendent Scott Ziegler sends an email to colleagues confirming that it had been reported

June 22: Scott Smith, the father of the rape victim, was dragged out of a school board meeting with a bloodied mouth and arrested after listening to school officials say no one had been sexually assaulted in the bathroom after his daughter had reported the rape

July 6: Detectives call the boy’s mother to report his imminent arrest. She drives him down to the station herself and he spends the next couple weeks at the juvenile detention center in nearby Leesburg

October 6: The 15-year-old changes schools and allegedly drags another a girl into a classroom and inappropriately touches her. Police are called and he is arrested the same day

October 25: Teen is found guilty for the May 28 sexual assault at Stone Bridge High School. The judge ‘substantiated’ charges of forcible sodomy and forcible fellatio, the juvenile equivalent of a conviction 

October 26: Students stage a walkout of their classrooms in a show of ‘solidarity’ for the victim. Some stood in front of their school, chanting: ‘Loudoun County Protects Rapists!’ 

November 15: Skirt-wearing teen pleads no content to sexual assault of a fellow student

December 13 : Sentencing scheduled for both cases

She reached her own breaking point with the him in early October when he phoned her from the juvenile detention center following his second arrest.

‘He asked me how I was doing, and I said, ”I’m broken, I’m shattered, you shattered me,” the mom recalled. ”Do you have any idea what you’ve done to me, what you’ve done to your family?

‘And his response was, ”No, what did I do?” she said.

She had been his primary point of contact, with his dad living in New Jersey.

‘At that point, I was like, ‘You know what? I love you, I always will, I will do everything I can to always be there for you in any capacity possible,’ she said. ‘But I told him – ‘You need to call your father for now on. Do not call me. I need to heal, and I need you to figure this out for yourself.’

That was Sunday, October 10. She did show up for his juvenile court appearance last Monday. She sat in the gallery while fuming at the boy’s father who defied her wishes by showing up with his wife.

‘He’d asked about bringing his wife and I said ”she’s the reason you have been absent in (our son’s) life. I hate her, I don’t want her in the courthouse,” she recalled telling him. ‘I’m in the mix every day dealing with three probation officers, detectives, the Commonwealth and I don’t know how many lawyers, and you’re in your own little safety bubble in New Jersey.’

‘And he didn’t listen to me,’ the mother told DailyMail.com, shaking her head and adding, ‘They even brought a friend.’

On October 25, the teen was found guilty for the May 28 sexual assault at Stone Bridge High School. The judge ‘substantiated’ charges of forcible sodomy and forcible fellatio, the juvenile equivalent of a conviction.

He was sent back to juvenile detention, pending a hearing November 15 on the second case which occurred at Broad Run High School in the same county on October 6, a month after the district transferred him there. 

In that incident, he allegedly pulled a girl into a classroom and inappropriately touched her.

The saga garnered worldwide attention as details were leaked. Irate parents accused the district of a coverup, questioning how a teen with a pending rape case was allowed to stay in the district to commit another sex crime.

The first victim’s father Scott Smith, meanwhile, blasted trans bathroom rules that he said allowed a ‘gender fluid’ boy to enter the bathroom and rape his daughter, fanning a national debate over transgender bathroom policy.

It wasn’t long before stories about the teen’s past began to surface and spread among parents and activists who were demanding to know what else the district may have covered up.

One involved an incident from fifth grade, when the boy was 11 and sent nude photos of himself to a female classmate. Sources told DailyMail.com that police got involved but that the girl’s parents decided against pursuing charges, so long as the district kept him away from their daughter.

The mom confirmed the account, but snapped, ‘What the f**k does that have to do with anything?’

She said the politics surrounding the case has gotten out of hand.

‘What are they trying to do?’ she asked. ‘Did they hire an investigator to dig up everything and ruin him for the rest of his life?’

The mother made no secret of the fact her son had been repeatedly suspended for misbehavior, including fist fights with classmates.

Amanda Shallant (pictured) spoke during a school board meeting last month as she held a sign that read: 'LCPS protects rapists'

Amanda Shallant (pictured) spoke during a school board meeting last month as she held a sign that read: ‘LCPS protects rapists’

‘He’s been a challenging child his whole life, which I’ve dealt with myself,’ the mother said. ‘My son’s gone through multiple forms of counseling and therapy, resources here, at school, friends, family. It’s been 15 years of hell trying to get him to do better and be better.’

Born in New Jersey, her son was just a baby when she and the father split. She packed up and left for Virginia in late 2007.

She enrolled her son in elementary school in Fairfax County before moving to Loudoun County. She described him as a smart kid who took several AP classes but didn’t do much homework and earned average grades.

He’d frequently act out, she said, and she’d do her best to dissect each incident with him.

After he sent the lewd photos in fifth grade, the mom said, ‘I walked him through every message exchange, photo exchange, and broke it down.

‘I was like, ‘Okay, this is what you sent,’ she recalled telling him. ‘What were you thinking? What were you hoping to get out of this?’ and then I’d be like, ‘This is not respectful. I did not raise you to be like this.’

Loudoun County Schools Superintendent Scott Ziegler apologized for failing to provide a 'safe' environment for students

Loudoun County Schools Superintendent Scott Ziegler apologized for failing to provide a ‘safe’ environment for students   

The boy would spend Christmas with his dad in New Jersey. After Christmas 2018, she said, ‘He came back more defiant than usual’ and asked to live with his father and stepmom. He spent the next year-plus in the Garden State. It was during that period that he started having sex at age 13, the mom said.

In June 2020, he moved back in with his mom. The next year, his world imploded.

The rape happened the afternoon of May 28, the Friday before Memorial Day.

His victim admitted they’d previously had sex in the bathroom and that they’d arranged to meet there again at lunchtime.

According to her testimony, he followed her into a stall, where she told him she was not in the mood for sex, but he threw her on the floor and forced her to perform sex acts.

‘He flipped me over,’ she reportedly said in court. ‘I was on the ground and couldn’t move and he sexually assaulted me.’

He only stopped, she said, when someone else walked in.

She reported it, and the investigation began.

Later that same day, the boy’s mom was summoned to the school, where they told her there’d been an incident involving her son.

She wasn’t given details and left the school without knowing what he’d done. 

So she took her son to a nearby library where she sat him down on a bench to ask.

‘And so, I got his side of the story,’ the mom said. ‘At that point, I was like, okay, well this is going to be a sh*tstorm.’

The teen told his mother about his past ‘hookups’ with the girl and noted that on May 28, they were planning to get together again in the bathroom.

But that day, she was sick. He told his mom that he’d accompanied her to the bathroom earlier in the day to make sure she was okay.

‘He said she wasn’t feeling well that day and that was the reason they entered the bathroom a first time that day,’ the mom told DailyMail.com. ‘He was worried about her, asked her how she was feeling, touched her forehead, brought water for her.’

According to the son, they talked about having sex later in the day.

‘He’d mentioned something about hooking up with her, said they’d discussed it that day and that she was wishy-washy, was like, yeah, ‘maybe, I still don’t feel well, we’ll see,’ the mom recalled.

He followed her into the bathroom a second time that afternoon.

‘It started with, ‘Are you feeling okay’ and her responding that she was feeling much better than this morning,’ she said, relaying her son’s account. ‘And he advanced.’

He depicted the rape as an accident, telling his mother he didn’t mean to insert himself in her anus and was surprised when it caused her pain.

‘He said he was intending for vaginal and it ended up for 10 seconds as anal,’ the mom recalled.

‘He knew she was in pain,’ she said. ‘He said,’ ‘Are you okay?” She said that hurt. And he’s like, what kind of pain?’

She believed her son’s version of events.

‘He was showing genuine concern,’ she said.

Then she proceeded to berate the girl, expressing doubts even after a judge found her son guilty.

‘If I was in a position where I was about to be raped, I would be screaming, kicking, everything,’ she said. ‘You’re 15. You can reasonably defend yourself. You’re not just going to sit there and take it. And so, because there wasn’t a presence of a fight, he felt it was okay to keep going.’

Scott Mineo with Parents Against Critical Race Theory puts signs in the ground as people gather to protest at the Loudoun County school board meeting last month

Scott Mineo with Parents Against Critical Race Theory puts signs in the ground as people gather to protest at the Loudoun County school board meeting last month

Parents stood outside a school board meeting in October holding placards that read: 'Protect girls not gender' and' 'women and girls are not collateral damage'

Parents stood outside a school board meeting in October holding placards that read: ‘Protect girls not gender’ and’ ‘women and girls are not collateral damage’

She said the girl didn’t immediately report it. First, the two went to study hall where she told a girlfriend what happened, the mom said. The girlfriend became furious and confronted him. He in turn confronted the victim, asking what she’d said. A short time later, she went to the principal’s office to report the rape.

The boy’s mother accompanied him back to school the following Tuesday. She said it was then that the principal broached another subject – her son’s gender identity. He was wearing a skirt at the time of the attack.

‘The principal of Stone Bridge was trying to delicately tap dance the sensitive situation,’ she told DailyMail.com. ‘So I was like, ”Alright, can you please just ask the question you want to ask?”

‘That’s when he was like, ”Oh, well, what does he identify as?” she recalled.

‘He identifies as male,’ she replied.

‘Oh, we never knew that,’ he told her. ‘And I said, ”Did anybody ever ask?”

Gender identity would later become a central issue in the public sphere as conservative activists singled out her son as an example of why transgender bathrooms are dangerous.

She found it disturbing, and offensive.

‘First of all, he is not transgender,’ she told DailyMail.com. ‘And I think this is all doing an extreme disservice to those students who actually identify as transgender.’

She said that while her son was indeed wearing a skirt, he doesn’t identify as a girl, and it wasn’t just some disguise to slip into the girl’s bathroom.

‘He would wear a skirt one day and then the next day, he would wear jeans and a t-shirt, a Polo or hoodie,’ she explained. ‘He was trying to find himself and that involved all kinds of styles. I believe he was doing it because it gave him attention he desperately needed and sought.’   

Juvenile Court judge Pamela Brooks agreed with the girl and her parents, saying there was enough evidence to prove the teen boy - who is also charged in another sexual assault - forced himself on her

Juvenile Court judge Pamela Brooks agreed with the girl and her parents, saying there was enough evidence to prove the teen boy – who is also charged in another sexual assault – forced himself on her

It wasn’t until July 6 that the detective called the boy’s mother to report his imminent arrest. She chose to drive him down the station herself. He spent the next couple weeks at the juvenile detention center in nearby Leesburg, where she spoke with him each day by phone and twice a week via Skype.

After his release in late July, she spent weeks trying to work on his behavior.

‘We worked hard through reading books and digging through baggage and, you know, addressing whatever demons he may hold towards his father, towards me, towards life, you know, to get him to do better and to be better,’ she told DailyMail.com. ‘We spent the whole summer, every day. I mean, 15 years of his life, breaking down the incident and breaking down respect and consideration with women.’

Come August, it was also time to prepare for school, a challenge because the court ordered that he not return to Stone Bridge.

‘I asked my lawyer and noted the court order says he can’t go back to Stone Bridge, what am I doing for school? And my lawyer’s like, woo, good question.’

She said she contacted the Stone Bridge principal, who at the time was still preparing for him to return there. Later she spoke with Dr. Douglas Fulton, the Loudoun County School District’s director of school administration.

‘That’s when he (Fulton) informed me of Title 9, and LCPS’ role in Title 9 and how it all works,’ she recalled. 

‘He told me that my son had the right to return to Stone Bridge because LCPS could not conduct an investigation or determine disciplinary action until the law enforcement aspect was completed.’

‘And thus ensued this conversation in which I’m stuck in the middle,’ she said. ‘I’ve got the judicial side of Virginia citing a court order and saying judicial trumps the education department, and I was like, no, the education department is under the executive branch. Y’all can’t trump each other.’

‘They weren’t communicating at all,’ she added. ‘So I was like, you guys need to talk. And so that ultimately happened.’

The district transferred her son to Broad Run, where he missed the first 10 days as everything was sorted out, she said.

She arranged to meet with the new principal.

‘So we finally had that meeting and then…, ‘ she said. Her voice trialed off but she alluded to the October 6 incident involving her son.

Her son allegedly dragged a girl into a classroom and inappropriately touched her, she said. Police were called and he was arrested the same day. His mother said she didn’t get notified until that evening.

She blamed politics for the ‘quick processing’ of the second incident, and said that was also likely a factor in why they delayed alerting her.

Still, she doesn’t know what to make of the charges. She respects the lead detective in the case and doesn’t question there was an incident.

But she added, ‘I didn’t hear my son’s side of it because he was being hauled into JDC before I could talk to him.’

The case has since exploded in the media.

‘Both you and I know this (transgender policy) has been a hot topic for close to 10 years now,’ she told DailyMail.com.

‘Parents were looking for that one case and that one piece of evidence that shows that boys are going to take advantage of this to rape their daughters. That’s been in the mix since transgender ID was even presented as a possibility of a policy. And so, it happened.’

The decision of Scott Smith, the father of the first victim, to publicly lash out drew national attention.

She had strong words for him and associates.

‘News of the second incident and, having been told through informal channels that it was (the same boy), made him snap,’ she said. 

‘And so he was not going to be quieted and he was going to let the world know that his daughter was raped by this transgender boy that took advantage of trans gender policies, and that LCDS needs to reverse their policies.’

She also accused associates of the Smith family of leaking sealed info.

‘So between Scott being all riled up from his position [and leaked information] it was inevitable for this to spread like wildfire,’ she said.

It’s turned her community into ground zero in a cultural war over transgender policy, with district protests, walkouts and demands for resignations.

‘Everybody in this county is afraid to sneeze wrong if they have any sort of connection to this case, afraid it’s going to ruin their career,’ she said.

‘What is the end game on this?’ she added. ‘My son’s going to be going on the sexual registry and be committed to Meghan’s Law for the rest of his life because he had 15-year-old hormones.’ 



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