On Tuesday, the embattled Loudoun County School Board held its regular meeting, and the Board heard from enraged parents once more. In the past few months, the Loudoun County School District has been under fire from parents. At the Tuesday evening meeting, parents presented a petition that would recall current school board chairperson Brenda Sheridan.
Loudoun County has been at the center of controversy for months. Parents have been active at meetings, questioning a curriculum they believe is heavily influenced by Critical Race Theory. In June, a father was arrested for appearing at a school board meeting demanding justice for his daughter, who had been allegedly sexually assaulted on school grounds. As details from the case came forward, the father garnered great support from the district as they learned that the Superintendent appeared to have allowed the accused student to transfer to another school within the district. The student is said to have allegedly assaulted another young woman at his new school – something the parents believe could have been prevented had Loudoun County Schools provided information about why the student was transferring.
A majority of parents in the Loudoun County School District have offered support to the father who was arrested. In addition, the National Association of School Boards sent a letter to the Department of Justice requesting assistance with parents that may be at school board meetings giving vehement vocal protest to the actions of the board; Loudoun County schools was one district noted as needing assistance from the federal government. Although the term has never appeared verbatim in any letters or memos, many of these parents felt they were being labeled “domestic terrorists,” and they are furious.
With all the vitriol apparent at meetings, a parent-backed Fight for Schools conservative organization secured over 1,200 parent signatures; the group filed the petition early Tuesday, and co-founder Ian Prior told Sheridan and the board, “I said we’d see you in court. As of 3:30 today, we are now in court.”
Parents have placed increasing pressure on the members of the Loudoun County School Board to resign. Member Beth Barts resigned in October. Barts herself was facing a recall campaign when she resigned due to open meeting laws, inappropriate social media use, and a mounting backlash from the LCSD’s parents.
Virginia law holds that a recall petition regarding an elected official (including elected school board members) must garner signatures of at least ten percent of the number of people who voted in the last election. That number was 1,200; when the petition was introduced, only twelve days passed before supporters had reached that number of signatures.
Now that the petition has been filed, a circuit court judge will decide whether Sheridan’s case will go to trial. Of course, Sheridan could resign in order to avoid a court case. However, Sheridan released a statement saying that she plans to see the recall process to the end.
The recall petition includes multiple allegations against Sheridan. One allegation includes inappropriate social media use and open meeting laws; the petition claims that Sheridan joined private Facebook groups with other LCSD board members, where these individuals allegedly “frequently discussed policies around opening and closing schools.” According to the petition, this is a violation of Virginia’s open meeting laws.
Fight for Schools also garnered enough signatures to recall other LCSD board members, including Denise Corbo, Ian Serotkin, and Atoosa Reaser. However, these petitions have not been filed with the court as of this writing. Fight for Schools has criticized the Loudoun County School District for coronavirus protocols as well as transgender student protections and racial equity proposals. Some parents have demanded that the entire board resign.
Fight for Schools assigns some blame to Board chair Sheridan regarding the alleged sexual assault of a female student in the district. The filing states that Sheridan allowed the transfer of the accused student “despite Sheridan’s at least general knowledge of the alleged assault.”
As of this writing, there are no dates set for a ruling in Sheridan’s recall.