By Jack Davis, The Western Journal November 10, 2021
A group of Virginia parents say they have secured enough signatures on petitions to remove the school board chair they say has endangered their children and placed woke politics ahead of education.
The action is the latest round in a battle between parents in the Loudoun County School District and the board.
Fight for Schools filed the recall documents in Loudoun County Circuit Court on Tuesday, according to The Washington Post.
The filing said board President Brenda Sheridan broke open meetings laws by using closed Facebook groups as a way to discuss school business without the public being aware. Sheridan is also accused of violating the First Amendment rights of parents by limiting public comment at meetings.
The board chair is also accused of mishandling a sexual assault case in the schools in which a student who was accused of a sexual assault was shunted from one school to another, where he has been accused of another sexual assault.
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“Today, we just filed 1200 signatures to remove the chairwoman of Loudoun County School Board, Brenda Sheridan,” Fight for Schools Executive Director Ian Prior told Fox News. “We decided that for the chairwoman and the vice-chairwoman, the buck stops with them, that we were going to draft new petitions … We were able to finish those off in 13 days.”
The group says it also has petitions to remove Board Vice-Chair Atoosa Reaser and board members Ian Serotkin and Denise Corbo, all with more than enough signatures to meet the legal requirement to trigger a recall. In Virginia, elected officials can be recalled if a petition to remove them receives a number of signatures equal to 10 percent of the votes cast in the previous election, Fox reported.
The intent to recall all of the board members was expressed during a public comment period at Tuesday’s board meeting.
“By the way, Denise, Brenda, Ian, Atoosa, we are well over 100% of required signatures for the petitions,” Megan Jenkins said, according to Fox News. “So I’m not going to encourage any of you to resign because when you are recalled and removed from office, it will be much more satisfying. See you in court.”
“I have the privilege of telling you that we are finished collecting signatures for your removal,” parent Jessica Mendez said during the meeting.
“I used to think that there was no point in speaking at these meetings,” Mendez said. “There was no point in trying to have a voice because you never seem to listen, anyway. But I had it all wrong. It wasn’t you who needed to hear our voices. It was all those parents, grandparents and neighbors listening at home, horrified at your actions or inactions. They were the ones who needed to hear us, and they were the ones who sign petitions, see you in court.”
Prior said the petitions required a monumental effort.
“For six months, Fight for Schools has been out collecting signatures in the heat, the cold, the rain and even hail,” Prior said on Monday. “To get 20,000 signatures during that time is a testament to the dedication of our volunteers and an engaged community that wants to see a change on its school board.”
“We are looking forward to the next steps and replacing school board members that are political servants with non-partisan public servants who will put the focus back on excellence in education,” he said.
Sheridan issued a statement in reply.
“My election was a mandate from those who came to the polls — three times — to choose me as their representative. Tuesday’s filing is the result of a fraction of those citizens signing a petition, whether they voted or not,” she said, according to the Post.
But Prior said change is necessary.
“From violating open meetings law to ignoring the school board’s code of conduct to neglecting to keep our children safe, all for her activist causes, Sheridan has been nothing short of a disaster,” Prior said, the Post reported.
“Let this serve as a message to the rest of the board and Superintendent Ziegler,” he said. “We’re still here, and we’re not going anywhere.”
Procedurally, if recall cases go to trial, a judge or a jury rules on the removal of a board member. The board then gets 45 days to appoint an interim replacement and 15 days to schedule a special election, according to Fox.
In addition to issues over student safety, parents have objected to the district embracing Critical Race Theory, as explained Tuesday night by parent Erin Dunbar, who accused the board of using tax dollars to teach “critical theory of the Marxist philosophy,” Fox reported.
“You have activist teachers using to indoctrinate their kids who are at the mercy of their authority,” she said. “That is child abuse. And you have no right to brainwash children into believing that their skin color determines their purpose.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.