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School Board Q&A: Rockingham County

Rockingham County School Board Candidates: Lori Mier - Matt Cross - Hilary Irons

Early voting began September 17th and runs through October 30th. As a reminder, you do not need to a reason to vote early or absentee. You can vote at your local registrar's office during their regular business hours. Local registrar offices and hours are:

Staunton: Staunton Voter Registration Office - 116 W. Beverly St, 9 am to 5 pm

Augusta County: Government Center - 18 Government Ln, Verona, 8 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm

Waynesboro: Voter Registration Office - 250 S Wayne St Suite 205, 8 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm

To ensure our LGBTQ+ community, and allies, are educated on the candidates running for School Board in Rockingham County the Shenandoah LGBTQ Center sent a series of questions to every candidate. This post has been updated to include responses from all three candidates.

Lori Mier's responses are as follows:

  1. Which LGBTQ+ organizations and/or events have you volunteered with and/or attended?

    1. I have attended Shenandoah Valley Pride Celebrations in the past years and have attended recent school board meetings in support of LGBTQ+ students.

  2. What do you think the community you serve is doing right in terms of being a welcoming place for LGBTQ+ community members? What do you think needs improvement?

    1. I believe that the community is trying to be welcoming, but in terms of needs for LGBTQ+ community members I would like to see systematic changes at the local level which will take more understanding of the issues and listening to LGBTQ+ students in our schools.

  3. What will you do to ensure protections put in place for trans students not only remain in place, but continue to improve so that trans, and other queer students, can succeed in public schools in Virginia? Please discuss the importance of the recent model policies put into place in Virginia for trans students.

    1. I believe that the non discrimination policy that RCPS has is not enough to ensure protections of trans students. This policy needs to extend into a more detailed policy. Board members also need to frequent the schools so they can get first hand knowledge of what is going on in the hallways, classrooms and administration offices.

  4. What have you learned, either while campaigning or while in office, from the queer communities that you serve or will serve if elected?

    1. I have learned that not everyone in the queer community feel safe, and that includes in our schools. I have learned to listen more.

  5. Every jurisdiction has the power to enact policies that can improve the lives of queer people. What specific policies have you supported and why? What specific policies will you advocate for while in office?

    1. I support law 22.1-23.3. I also support antiracist school policies that I have seen drafted in surrounding counties and across the country. Intersectionality is important and the need for both policies is vital to protecting Black and brown queer students.

Matt Cross's response is as follows:

As a person and candidate I follow the “golden rule”, treating others the way I would want to be treated. As a father and a School Resource Officer in the public schools for almost a decade, I always treated ALL kids the same and with respect. If elected to the school board ALL children in Rockingham County Public Schools will be safer than they have ever been while attending our schools.

Hilary Irons' response is as follows:

I appreciate each individual question asked, but I have one answer to offer for all the questions asked:

I am a former RCPS educator, a wife and a stay at home mother of 3 children with various part time employment. While I have political opinions, I am not historically politically active in the public. I chose to run for school board because, like many parents, quarantine/schooling from home caused me to have questions about the state of our public education system. I want our schools to be a place where every child can thrive and pursue their individual maximum potential regardless of identity. I believe in treating others the way I would want to be treated; as a mother, I believe in treating all children as my own, and I can promise I will care for every child this way if elected to serve on this board.

The authority of the school board is limited, and it comes under the law of the state. A successful school board should be focused on student achievement. I believe we need sensible policies that consider the priorities, needs and wants of all students so that each can learn. I invite anyone with questions about my life experience and personal beliefs to meet directly with me. Otherwise, please know - I will work to keep all children safe because that's what I want for my own.


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