Superintendent responds after Franklin County School Board meeting sees split opinions on hot button topics

Roanoke Valley News

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Critical Race Theory (CRT) and transgender student policy were the top topics of discussion by parents and community members in Franklin County Monday night, and it’s at the forefront of Superintendent Dr. Bernice Cobb’s mind Tuesday.

Dr. Cobb says while new transgender policies will not be adopted at Franklin County Public Schools, she believes the non-discriminatory acts enacted already protects all students.

“The non-discrimination policies are already in place, okay, and that covers all students including gender identity. Those are the policies that Franklin County School Board will follow,” Dr. Cobb explained.

The Virginia Schools Boards Association implemented statewide policies in March that would provide more protections for transgender students and their families.

During the Franklin County School Board meeting on Monday, July 12, people in the community voiced their beliefs.

Loretta Yopp however feels more allowances for trans students puts her children at risk.

“I will not stand back and let (school board) decide to let my children, or teach my children sin. I teach them the word of God,” said Yopp.

However, Phoenix Keesee, a transgender man in the Blue Ridge, feels differently.

“The intersection of transphobia and racism makes the likelihood of violence towards transgender Black children in this area extremely high,” Keesee explained. “Setting LGBTQI narratives; providing resources to youth, parents, and staff; encouraging practices that dismantle racism, homophobia, and transphobia will help this.”

Besides transgender policies, people in Franklin County had strong opinions about CRT. Dawn McCray feels just as strongly about CRT.

“CRT is anything but inclusive,” McCray exclaimed. “It is a perverse ideology rooted in Marxism, that teaches identity politics. It is patronizing, demeaning, and worse, it fosters victim and oppressor mentality.”

Eric Anstangh, a former pastor, seems to want more knowledge for students on the subject of race and its role in our culture.

“Informing students about a debate does not mean indoctrinating them with that theory. We teach capitalism, fascism, and communism, so we should absolutely teach about racism,” said Anstangh.

Dr. Cobb shared while the subject is not currently being taught, it is up to the state what is taught.

“We have and we will continue to follow the standards that are adopted and approved by the State Board of Education,” said Dr. Cobb.

WFXR News reached out to the Virginia State School Boards Association several times for a comment on the meeting, but they have not called back.

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