School sexual assault roils Virginia governor’s race

“It’s no longer about protecting children from the pandemic. It’s about protecting kids from the Culture Wars, ”said Monmouth University pollster Patrick Murray, whose poll last week showed Youngkin is linked to McAuliffe.

“McAuliffe enabled Youngkin to change the terms of the education debate,” said Murray. “Now we have an issue that is about school safety, linked to the culture war and sexual identity, and it is enough to be explosive.”

In his recent standard dull speeches and a new ad, Youngkin highlights the case of a high school student who sexually abused a girl in a school toilet in late May. The student was transferred to another school and allegedly attacked another girl earlier this month.

The case made headlines across the country after the first victim’s father was arrested in June while telling officials about the attack on one chaotic session of the Loudoun County School Board. The father’s reference to the juvenile suspect as “gender fluid” immediately fueled the attack into the ongoing debate about transgender people’s access to school toilets.

The suspect’s attorney said it was incorrect to label his client as “gender fluid” or transgender.

The arrest and vocal school council meeting – which had been convened to discuss trans-inclusive policies – became a focal point in the national debate about aggressive parents who confront school council members across the country about gender, race and Covid, and in some cases harass-related politics .

After a fuller account of the sexual assault and how the schools were handling the situation, Loudoun County students held one Protest against strike on Tuesday sing “Loudoun County Protects Rapists” at a number of local high schools. The conservative Daily Wire first broke the history of sexual assault cases.

With this in mind, Youngkin has increasingly focused on cases of sexual assault.

“For months we have seen chaos invade our schools and escalate into violence. Violence in our schools where there is a lack of security, ”he said at a recent event in Northern Virginia. “New case every week until the unthinkable happened: Virginia – and America – woke up to the news that a teenage girl had been sexually assaulted in their Loudoun County school and worse, the school administration covered it up, and Loudoun’s Commonwealth attorney.” targeted the victim’s family. “

In addition, Youngkin posted a new 30-second digital ad that served as an attempted indictment of progressivism rather than an attack on McAuliffe. The ad interweaves the sexual assault with two other school controversies in the state: school police and sexual assault coverage. It shows a video of a school brawl in Alexandria where the The city council reinstated the school resource officers after the police were initially pulled out of the asylums amid a nationwide effort by progressives to place less emphasis on law enforcement in education. The spot closes with a hint a law of 2020 Passed by democratic lawmakers allowing schools to refrain from reporting sexual offenses.

“McAuliffe’s allies even voted to cover up crimes,” agrees a narrator in the 30-second spot that was released Monday.

The complaint was published the same day a judge found the suspect attacked the teenage girl in the May case. A hearing on the second attack is pending.

Republican pollster John McLaughlin, who is participating in a local legislative process, said the sexual assault issue crosses party lines. Although he did not investigate the specific cases of sexual assault in Loudoun County’s schools, McLaughlin’s survey showed that his client and Youngkin were within striking distance of their opponents, despite the fact that the district is democratic and schools and sexual assault are a big issue.

When asked about a politician who “voted to abolish compulsory reporting of sexual assault on children in schools,” 59 percent of respondents were less likely to support them – including 44 percent who said they were much less likely . According to a poll by McLaughlin earlier this month, only 8 percent said it was more likely.

“It’s big business. It’s really important,” said McLaughlin, calling Loudoun “Ground Zero” for the governor race.

McAuliffe and his campaign have largely avoided commenting on the sexual assault cases.

To the extent that McAuliffe’s campaign has discussed the sexual assault controversy, it is referred to as “transphobic dog whistling” because of an aggravating problem in the case: the suspect wore a skirt during the first sexual assault.

The McAuliffe campaign has instead focused on a Youngkin TV ad, also released this week and broadcast nationwide, that featured a mother complaining that McAuliffe, as governor, was vetoing a law designed to educate parents about sexually explicit reading materials used in schools.

Democrats used the nationwide ad to brand Youngkin as a book banner, pointing out that the ad was lack of context because it failed to mention that the Pulitzer Prize-winning book mentioned in the ad was “Beloved” by Toni Morrison, or that the mother’s child was a Republican high school senior and advanced English course.

“The Youngkin Campaign speaks to white Republican parents. They don’t talk to swap voters or so many voters in our state, “said Ben Tribbett, a Virginia Democrat adviser and commentator

Youngkin’s new digital ad is slated to appear on Facebook feeds and web searches in suburban Northern Virginia and nationwide for grassroots Republican voters and disaffected Republicans who suspended in 2020 when Donald Trump lost Virginia in double digits, according to a campaign advisor.

That plays in Youngkin’s strategy of maximizing the votes of the already energetic Republicans while pulling a few independents, while counting on a relatively low turnout from grassroots Democratic voters who seem discouraged by President Joe Biden and their party’s control of Congress .

On the Democratic side, McAuliffe’s decision to portray Youngkin as an extremist “Trumpkin” and to get Biden, former President Barack Obama and other party luminaries as a campaign substitute is intended to juice their own larger base.

Regarding the importance of the sexual assault debate that has moved Republicans at the federal and state levels, Tribbett said, “I don’t think there are voters who believe Terry McAuliffe is intended for sexual assault in schools.”

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