Transphobic School Board Member Creates Hostile Environment

by | Jul 17, 2023 | COMMUNITY NEWS, QUEER RVA, RICHMOND POLITICS, VIRGINIA NEWS

Gloucester County School Locked Down Over Armed Militia Members

Last week, four people were arrested after bringing firearms to a school board meeting in Gloucester, Virginia. Those four came from outside the county at the request of a black sheep among the school board members, Darren Post. Darren Post may sound like the pseudonym of a Facebook user on a bigoted rant, but he is a man duly elected to the Gloucester School Board who treats the existence of trans students as a major threat in the county.

Trans students in Gloucester County are not new, and a historic major legal victory for transgender rights began when Gavin Grimm won his legal right to be recognized as a male student in high school. This lengthy legal battle continued well after Grimm had graduated from high school and moved out of the county. Grimm does not have insider knowledge of these recent events, but he says,

“Back in 2015, I had grown adults calling me a ‘freak’ and demeaning me in any available way, directly to my face at two other board meetings full of the same rhetoric. They allowed it then, even directed towards a child. They allow discrimination and hate. They implicitly support and amplify it with their lack of actions otherwise. This was the natural evolution of an environment like that. If you are comfortable with adults insulting children, why expect any decorum at all?”

Darren Post was elected to the board in 2018, and during his tenure, he has been a part of the school board’s challenge to keep transgender students out of bathrooms. In 2021, the Supreme Court finalized the matter, and the board was ordered to pay $ 1.3 million in legal fees  to Grimm and his attorneys. Later that year, the board passed a measure that would put their policies in line with federal guidelines. Post was the only member to oppose the policy.

Post took to social media and posted a video on Facebook with the hashtag #ProtectOurChildren. “These new policies put our children’s safety at risk. At risk of rape, sexual assault, false allegations, and child pornography,” he said. Post continued by  incorrectly conflating a sexual assault in Loudoun County to the school’s policy on transgender students, stating, “The question is not IF this will happen in Gloucester, but WHEN.” Post attempts to merge transgender students with sexual predators, something not only incorrect  but also dangerous to those young students in Gloucester, as trans people are  four times more likely to be victims of violent attacks.

Following the Gloucester School Board passing new transgender policies on October 15, 2021, Darren Post posted a video

“Our leaders decided to fall in line instead of standing up for what is morally right. They would rather put our children’s safety at risk and in harm’s way then face another transgender lawsuit.” Post went on to tell viewers to contact school board members and included their e-mail addresses in the video’s description. Something that is legal, but it was not well received by his fellow board members.

Behind the scenes, Post was admonished by other members of the board. During closed sessions, they criticized him for his reckless comments that were bringing harassment towards them. “You are an absolutely pathetic human being,” said Gloucester School Board Vice Chair Elisa Nelson. “I guarantee you one thing, I will sink all the money in the world over the next two years to make sure you don’t hold another public office in Gloucester County.” Post had secretly recorded them during these closed meetings in 2021. Board Chair Robin Rice told him, “You are sitting there with a shit-eating grin on your face not even answering any questions.”

Post lived up to his name and posted the audio on his Facebook. While it is unlawful to post audio of a closed session of a meeting, it is also unlawful to discuss matters like the Board when addressing their complaints to Post. Post enlisted services of Tim Anderson to get a judge to order the release of the audio and punish the board for their unlawful activity of privately insulting Post’s behavior.

With no friends on the school board, Post began requesting other people to come out to school board meetings.

Among those was Trevor Herrin. On July 11, Herrin claimed that his tire had been slashed while he attended the previous school board meeting, something that the Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office saw no evidence supporting that claim and that Herrin did not file a criminal report. During his public comment, Herrin expressed that he believed one of three different board members was responsible for his tires being slashed and advised, “Make things right while you have the opportunity to do so before things get worse instead of engaging in further violence.”

Trevor Herrin speaking during the July 11, 2023 Gloucester School Board Meeting and his weapon as he leaves the podium.

When Herrin stepped down from the podium, Gloucester County deputies claimed that they noticed Herrin had a concealed weapon. Herrin and his friends were met with deputies in the parking lot as they left the meeting. Herrin and his friends were carrying concealed weapons as well. Everyone left without a violent confrontation, even though the school board meeting went into lock down. By the end of the week, Herrin and three other people were charged with carrying weapons onto school property, a Class 6 felony.

Trevor Herrin (center) at a rally in Richmond, Virginia on November 21, 2020. Via Ford Fischer/News2Share

Although previously not reported in local coverage, Herrin revealed to journalist Ford Fischer via text messages that he had been a part of the militia movement. Herrin had been involved in Virginia protests with Kenneth Michael Dunn in Richmond and Newport News. Dunn was quick to announce a protest in Gloucester in August before the Sheriff’s Office announced charges against Herrin and others. Dunn had been a well-known name within the Boogaloo movement until he denounced it in 2021. Dunn had been featured in a Vice documentary and ProPublica..

School Board Member Darren Post released a statement related to the arrests. He stated that spaces like school board meetings should be free from potential threats and fear, and should adhere to the law. He also clarified that he and Trevor Herrin “simply share membership in a regional grassroots conservative political organization.” Post did not clarify which organization he was referring to.

According to Herrin’s text messages with Ford Fischer, Herrin has retained John Pierce as his legal counsel. Pierce is an attorney specializing in firearms law and is a board member of the Virginia Citizen’s Defense League. Pierce was also hired by Ron Hedlund as his attorney in the protective order against him.

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Goad Gatsby

Goad Gatsby

A journalist from Richmond and contributor on Open Source RVA on WRIR 97.3FM.




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