Loudoun County School Board Member Beth Barts announced her resignation, effective November 2, on Friday. Barts is facing a recall effort, and a judge recently declined to dismiss the recall petitions.
“This was not an easy decision, or a decision made in haste,” Barts wrote to the board and school officials. “After much thought and careful consideration, it is the right decision for me and my family.”
Neither the school’s press release nor Barts’ letter clarified the specific reason for her resignation. Barts has been a controversial figure on the board. According to The Loudoun Times-Mirror, the school board has reprimanded Barts. Barts was accused of being involved with a controversial Facebook group that allegedly targeted anti-Critical Race Theory organizations in Loudoun, according to The Washington Post. The Post reported that after a four-month investigation, the Loudoun County Sheriff could not find evidence to pursue charges against anyone involved.
On October 5, a Loudoun County Circuit Court judge gave Fight for Schools PAC some minor wins in their effort to recall Barts, leading to the appointment of a special prosecutor, Stafford County Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Olsen (R). But at the time, Barts’ lawyer sounded optimistic, noting the extensive legal hurdles to recall efforts in Virginia.
“[Olsen’s] a career prosecutor. So I expect him to be a straight-shooter,” Barts’ lawyer Charles King said at the time. “I still predict the case will be dismissed. My best prediction is the prosecutor will drop it.”
King declined to comment on Friday. Olsen told The Virginia Star that he didn’t know why Barts had resigned.
“There’s nothing that I have done, there’s no action that I have taken that I’m aware of that would have been a catalyst, or caused, this,” Olsen said. “There’s nothing that I know about that would have changed anything, or would have done anything. Certainly, I’ve really just begun my investigation.”
This week, Loudoun County Public School officials have come under fire for allegations of sexual assaults that occurred in bathrooms, but there’s no clear link between that situation and Barts’ resignation.
Her resignation is a major win for the Fight for Schools PAC and community members who wanted her removed, since recall efforts in Virginia are rarely successful.
“This could not have been an easy decision for Ms. Barts. We have made known our displeasure with her actions as a school board member over the past several months, but today she has done the right thing. Her former colleagues should take notice,” Fight for Schools Executive Director Ian Prior said in a statement.
He said, “The community should know, however, that the problems at Loudoun County Public Schools and on the school board go well beyond one school board member. We will continue to shine a light on Loudoun County Public Schools and will keep fighting until we have a school board of common sense, non-partisan members and a superintendent who is accountable to parents and tells the truth.”
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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Beth Barts” by Loudoun County Public Schools. Background “Loudoun County High School” by A.J. Jelonek. CC BY 3.0.