Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) Superintendent Eric Williams announced his departure last week without warning. The Clear Creek Independent School District (CCISD) in Houston, Texas selected Williams as their sole finalist for superintendent in a nationwide search.
LCPS parents and concerned CCISD parents flooded the comments of the official CCISD Facebook page announcement on Williams’ new position. LCPS parents warned CCISD parents that Williams would impose the same social justice initiatives that he’d done while overseeing LCPS, such as through the Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee (MSAAC).
Over 750 parents responded by signing a petition calling for CCISD to reject Williams. The petition outlined several concerns referencing the LCPS parents’ comments on Facebook.
In response to LCPS and CCISD parents’ criticisms, CCISD issued their own follow-up comment via their Facebook page defending their decision.
“This forum was not designed to spread misinformation or mischaracterization of individuals. Clear Creek ISD families, staff, and community members will be given many opportunities to meet Dr. Williams and learn firsthand why he was unanimously supported by your elected school board members.”
Four of the seven pages linked with the superintendent’s page concern a social justice presentation of equity. The equity-related pages are dedicated to the Director of Equity, Williams’ statement on equity, the complete equity program (including messages, groups, plans, and resources), and an investigation into allegations of discrimination.
The increased focus on equity expanded greatly after an incident at LCPS’s Madison’s Trust Elementary. The district came under fire after a gym teacher had students participate as “runaway slaves” in an obstacle course representing the Underground Railroad. In response, the Virginia National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) called for Williams’ resignation.
Since then, Williams has led the charge for “LCPS Equity,” a program aimed at “the disruption and dismantling of white supremacy, systemic racism, and hateful language and actions based on race, religion, country of origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, and/or ability.” The NAACP Loudoun Branch suggested installing equity leaders, modified speech policies, and modified curriculum – all of which LCPS now has or plans to implement, according to their website.
At the earliest, Williams is expected to submit his official resignation to LCPS after CCISD issues their formal announcement next month. LCPS hasn’t publicly announced any candidates for interim superintendent.
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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Eric Williams – Loudoun County Schools” by Loudoun County Schools.