A Loudoun County dad was criminally charged and smeared as an extremist after he took a stand at a school board meeting in June 2021 against leftist indoctrination and “moral decay.” On Wednesday, he was cleared of wrongdoing.
After his vindication in court, Jon Tigges told TheBlaze that while he does not advocate getting arrested, every person has to come to their own understanding of “what God is calling them to say and do.”
For some, this might mean they “simply stop living their life on Facebook and have someone over for dinner. For others, it may be reconciling with estranged family members. … But to do nothing in the midst of decay and injustice is disobedience [to God],” he added. “The greatest paradox is that we must die to truly live.”
What’s the background?
Jon Tigges was arrested on June 22, 2021, and charged with trespassing after he refused to leave a Loudoun County school board meeting that apparently did not go the way the board members wanted.
TheBlaze previously reported that the district and its board had made national headlines over the “pornographic” content in assigned books, their mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the suspension of a Christian teacher who opposed transsexual policies, and a student claim that the administrators’ admission of transsexuals into girls’ locker rooms put her in danger.
Over 250 people signed up to express their concerns about the school board’s proposed transsexual accommodations, critical race theory, and other leftist designs foisted upon kids in the county.
Officials tried to prematurely end the meeting while concerned citizens, including Tigges, attempted to give their testimonies.
According to Loudoun Now, school board chairman Brenda Sheridan (Sterling) halted the meeting, claiming that members of the crowd were being disorderly. Superintendent Scott Ziegler, who was indicted over his handling of transsexual rapes and fired last month, then declared the gathering an “unlawful assembly,” ordering the board room to be cleared.
Tigges told the sheriff clearing the room that he intended to stay until everyone had an opportunity to speak — only 51 of the 259 had been heard — and that the meeting, which was scheduled to run at least another hour, was technically not over.
He was handcuffed and dragged outside.
In a video of the arrest, Tigges can be heard informing the deputies taking him away, “This is an unlawful arrest. I have a First Amendment right.”
— Gabriella Borter (@Gabriella Borter)
In September 2021, Tigges was found guilty of trespassing by Judge Ian Williams in a Virginia district court.
Tigges announced his appeal soon thereafter, noting, “Public officials can’t stop public comments just because they don’t like what is being said, nor can they demand that attendees not make noise of any kind.”
Judge Douglas Fleming Jr. of the 20th Judicial Circuit in Virginia happened to agree with him.
— Jon Tigges (@Jon Tigges)
On Wednesday, Fleming cleared Tigges of any wrongdoing.
Fleming found both that Tigges had a First Amendment right to attend the meeting and that Ziegler had no right to declare the meeting an “unlawful assembly,” thereby nullifying the grounds for the trespassing charge, reported the Federalist.
“Unlike the first two judges who ruled against my case, Judge Fleming actually made a ruling based on state statutes. … The first judge stated that since Ziegler didn’t ‘feel safe” he could have peaceful protesters arrested. The second judge determined that a person’s constitutional right to speech and assembly were not allowed during a meeting recess,” Tigges told TheBlaze. “Three’s a charm I guess.”
Tigges suggested that the ordeal opened his eyes “to just how deep and dark the rabbit hole of evil really is. Helped me see that real freedom is grounded on (1) faith, (2) family, and (3) friends — not government.”
The Loudoun father indicated that his grounding is now firmer than its ever been. “God has never been more real or personal in my life,” he said.
In terms of his family and friends, Tigges credits his wife, Chris, for withstanding what was “really a rough ride” and coming out even stronger and the “amazing people we met through this.”
Even his wedding venue business, Zion Springs, which was canceled by its major referrers such as WeddingWire and TheKnot, and ultimately lost over $1 million in revenue, has rebounded, enjoying its best year ever in 2022.
While his business turns a profit, Tigges noted that he has profited from the insights he gleaned during this protracted battle to peaceably assemble and speak out against the school board’s adoption and advancement of radical leftist agendas — a battle in which he and parents like him were smeared as domestic terrorists by the National School Boards Association and by elements of the Biden administration.
“I learned that I needed to stop expecting someone else to do something and take responsibility for what I could influence. That started with a long look in the mirror and realizing I had neglected giving time, treasure, and talents to my community,” he said.
Tigges noted that he will move forward with the understanding that “the biggest problem … was not that bad people are going to do bad things. I knew that already. The solution is to get good people to do good things.”
“God’s people sin by their silence. Faith without works is dead,” Tigges suggested, noting, “We don’t trust God when we display inaction in the face of justice.”
The Loudoun father called on other Christians to similarly look in the mirror and to challenge “the depravity all around them. The Bible is clear that change in our world starts with the Church.”
— Jon Tigges (@Jon Tigges)
Tigges indicated he will be launching a podcast on Friday called “Bedrock Blueprints,” in which he’ll discuss frameworks based on truth.