LOUDOUN, Va. (WRIC) — The Loudoun County School Division is moving to address an increase in the use of slurs and hate speech after the school division reported a massive increase in such incidents during the Spring semester.

According to a presentation given at a school board meeting on Tuesday, May 24, there were between four or five incidents per month of hate speech reported to the division’s Office of Equity during the Fall semester. But starting in February, the division saw a sudden rise in incidents, with 19 in February and a total of 40 in March across Elementary, Middle and High Schools.

Incidents of racial slurs and hate speech in Loudoun County Schools. (Chart courtesy of Loudoun County Schools)

Increases in the number of incidents were seen in all three levels of schooling, with a peak in March and a gradual decline in the months since. However, the number of incidents in May so far is still well above the levels during the Fall semester.

The county currently has a policy in place to respond to such incidents, which calls on school officials, among other parties, to notify the parents of all students involved, direct the student who caused the incident to “complete a reflective lesson” and notify the division’s social and mental health service.

Now, according to the presentation, officials from the Office of Equity will be meeting with leadership at the schools that have seen increases in the number of incidents to discuss “next steps to repair harm and restore
school climate and culture.”