Loudoun’s Brandon Michon gives voice to frustrated parents everywhere
By Laura Longley
Update: The #FIGUREITOUT – OPEN LOUDOUN SCHOOLS RALLY to be held on Monday, Feb. 8 from 5 – 6 p.m. at the Loudoun County Government Center located at 1 Harrison Street, SE, Leesburg Virginia.
The rally will occur prior to the 6 p.m. meeting when Loudoun County Public Schools will present its FY2022 budget request to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.
Brandon Michon, and others will be speaking at the rally.
If you didn’t check your social media feed or cable news network the week of Jan.26, then you missed out on Loudoun County’s first viral moment of the year.
That Tuesday evening, Jan. 26, Brandon Michon, a frustrated parent of three and a Loudoun Valley High School graduate (’05), stepped up to the podium at the Loudoun County School Board meeting and let the members know exactly what he thought of their performance in managing the schools and their decision-making skills throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
“You’re a bunch of cowards hiding behind our children as an excuse to keep our schools closed. Figure it out or get off the podium,” he said. “You should all be fired from your day jobs, because if your employers knew you were more inefficient than the DMV, you would be replaced in a heartbeat … There are people like me who will gladly take your seat and figure it out!”
Within hours, he had been interviewed by local news channels, Tucker Carlson on Fox, the Daily Mail, The Guardian, CNN, and others.
After emotions had abated a bit, Michon opened up about his feelings and those of fellow parents in the County and across the country.
“These parents are hurting. They have no idea how they can go on managing their children’s school and their own work when the School Board has not come up with a plan. That’s what frustrates me most. We need to get the children back to school learning, being mentally healthy, and being kids,” he said in an interview with the Blue Ridge Leader.
“Look at the private schools,” he added. “They’ve figured it out. Why not our school district? Because they haven’t bothered to make a plan. Schools are open around the country, and reports of illness have been few,” he noted. “Statistics bear that out.”
Michon also echoed other parents’ feelings about how they—and their children—have been treated by the School Board over the past year. In his case, School Board Chair Brenda Sheridan not only asked that he be removed, but asked staff to wipe down the podium afterward.
“Two of my children—5 and 8—spoke to the Board,” he said. “That takes a lot of courage for a kid to get up in a public forum and address people sitting up on a dais. And then they weren’t even given the courtesy of a thank you.”
He added that it was especially upsetting to see how Board members treated another father and his nonverbal child.
“The father had signed them both up to speak, which meant he would have been allotted a minute and his child would have had a minute. He expected he could use both minutes to address the Board. But the moment he finished his remarks and moved on to speak on behalf of his child, the chair stopped him and told him he couldn’t do that.” An exchange proceeded for the next two minutes about why he couldn’t use the student’s minute. Then he was dismissed from the podium. “Twice the time he might have used in support of his child was used by the Board member,” said Michon.
“I didn’t do this for attention. I just want the school board to make a plan. There’s no excuse at this point for not having one. As I said in my remarks, ‘Do your job.’”
Clearly his comments resonated with the public and Loudoun’s superintendent. Within a day, the video of his speech had topped 500,000 views on Twitter. Scott Ziegler, Loudoun’s interim superintendent, sent a letter to the school community recapping the Board meeting.
Without naming Michon, he observed that “increased media attention … has led to some inflammatory rhetoric being shared on social media, and in email and phone communications with staff.” Ziegler added that the community has a common goal to safely send students back to school as soon as it is possible.”
Due to weather, please check the School Board calendar for the next meeting (Feb. 2). The Board will be voting on a plan to return to in-person learning by Feb. 16. The return would include grades K-5 and some older students in special categories.