Recall of Loudoun School Board Member Beth Barts Has Hearing Set for October

Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge Jeanette Irby declined Wednesday to recuse herself from the recall case of School Board Member Beth Barts. Barts’ attorney Charles King had motioned for local judges to recuse themselves, arguing that an outside judge is necessary to consider testimony from local officials. On Monday, Judge Stephen Sincavage said he would recuse himself, saying he has children in the school district, according to Loudoun Now.

“I am not recusing myself from this matter,” Irby said, according to The Loudoun Times-Mirror.

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Ben Carson, Youngkin, and Sears Criticize Virginia Education Policy at Loudoun County Rally

Secretary Ben Carson

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson spoke against mask mandates, Critical Race Theory, and COVID-19 vaccines for children in a Loudoun County appearance alongside GOP candidates Glenn Youngkin and Winsome Sears on Wednesday night. A large, energetic crowd filled a conference room; the event was hosted by Fight for Schools and 1776 Action.

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Two More Teachers Join Lawsuit Against Loudoun County School Board

Two more teachers will join Tanner Cross’ lawsuit against the Loudoun County School Board. On Thursday, the Loudoun Circuit Court approved a motion to amend the case, which adds Loudoun County High School history teacher Monica Gill and Smart’s Mill Middle School English teacher Kim Wright to the case.

The amended complaint also shifts focus to a requirement in the new transgender policy that teachers use students preferred pronouns; the original complaint focused on the district firing Cross after he spoke out at a school board meeting.

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Randy Zackrisson Runs for Albemarle School Board After Seeing Loudoun County Battles

The Albemarle County School Board passed a transgender policy on August 12. Less than a week later on Wednesday, Albemarle resident Randy Zackrisson announced a write-in campaign to challenge board Chair Graham Paige in the Samuel Miller District.

“This is why I’m running for school board: to respect parental rights. To let the parents decide how to raise their children. That’s their responsibility, not the school system,” Zackrisson said in an announcement speech posted to Facebook by Philip Hamilton, Republican candidate for House of Delegates District 57.

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Alliance Defending Freedom Wants to Change Focus of Tanner Cross Lawsuit to Stop Requirement to Use Preferred Pronouns in Loudoun Public Schools

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is shifting focus in its Cross v. Loudoun County School Board lawsuit after the board approved a transgender policy last week. On Monday, the ADF filed a request to amend their complaint with the court. The new complaint adds two more Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) teachers and focuses on a provision that requires all faculty and students to use a students preferred pronouns.

ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer said in a press release, “Loudoun County Public Schools is now requiring all teachers and students to deny truths about what it means to be male and female and is compelling them to call students by their chosen pronouns or face punishment. Public employees cannot be forced to contradict their core beliefs just to keep a job. Freedom — of speech and religious exercise—includes the freedom not to speak messages against our core beliefs.”

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Loudoun County Teacher Resigns in Protest at School Board Meeting

Laura Morris

A Loudoun County teacher resigned in protest Tuesday night after telling the School Board that its rules promoting transgender ideologies did not comport with her Christian faith. 

“School Board, I quit. I quit your policies, I quit your trainings, and I quit being a cog in a machine that tells me to push highly-politicized agendas on our most vulnerable constituents – the children,” a teacher who identified herself as Laura Morris said, fighting back tears. “I will find employment elsewhere. I encourage all parents and staff in this county to flood the private schools.”

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Loudoun County School Board Approves Transgender Policy

The Loudoun County School Board voted 7-2 to approve a transgender policy on Wednesday evening, in the second day of a two-part meeting. A public hearing was held Tuesday evening. On Wednesday, many board members emphasized the significant amount of time at the state and local level dedicated to developing the policy in response to Virginia law. Board member Jeff Morse spoke at length in opposition to the policy. He and member John Beatty voted against the policy and tried to pass a motion to send the policy back to committee for more consideration.

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Another Group Aims at Northern Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorneys for Recall

Another group is targeting northern Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorneys Buta Biberaj, from Loudoun, and Steve Descano, from Fairfax. This week, Virginians for Safe Communities (VSC) announced recall efforts against Biberaj and Descano, already the targets of a separate organization Stand Up Virginia (SUV). VSC is also targeting Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Deghani-Tafti, from Arlington and Falls Church.

“Northern Virginia deserves honest, hard-working, and effective Commonwealth’s Attorneys who seek accountability for criminals, protect our communities, and uphold the law without reservation or ideological blinders,” VSC President Sean Kennedy said in a press release.

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Botetourt School Board Disavows Critical Race Theory

The Botetourt County Public Schools (BCPS) Board disavowed Critical Race Theory (CRT) in its July 8 meeting, saying CRT was not being taught in the school. After public comment, Chair Anna Weddle read a statement supported by all five board members.

“[BCPS] has not and will not be teaching [CRT]. The term is not mentioned in standards, nor in curriculum. This includes the current standards and those standards that will be taught beginning in the 2022-2023 school year. Collectively, we do not support [CRT] in K-12 education in Botetourt County,” the statement said.

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Behind the Scenes of the Effort to Recall Six Pro-Critical Race Theory Loudoun County School Board Members

Parents are organizing to recall six members of the Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) School Board who kept schools closed and reportedly allowed and encouraged critical race theory curriculum. LCPS parent Ian Prior – one of the leaders behind Fight For Schools, the recall effort – informed The Virginia Star that they have secured more than the 10 percent of votes each member obtained during the last election – and they’ve been busy gathering more. 

“At last count last Sunday, we were at 60 percent for Beth Barts, 54 percent for Ian Serotkin, 42 percent for Denise Corbo, 27 percent for Leslee King, 24 percent for Brenda Sheridan, and 20 percent for Atoosa Reaser. That was 10 days ago. People are out there collecting signatures: going door-to-door and attending events,” explained Prior. “We want to make sure that we have more signatures than required, which will obviously protect us from any challenges or whatnot. We’re still determining the best way forward.”

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121 People Register to Speak at Loudoun County School Board Meeting

The public comment period at Tuesday’s Loudoun County Public School Board meeting lasted about three hours after 121 people registered to speak. Several factors contributed to the high participation, according to LCPS citizen reporter Julie Sisson.

“It was insane,” Sisson said. “A combination of the first in-person audience in over a year, the fact that LCPS suspended Tanner Cross after the last one and the court ruling in his favor had come out earlier that day, last meeting of the school year, and the SB was supposed to discuss Policy 8040 (rights of transgender students) but they pushed it back to Committee.”

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Court Approves Emergency Injunction Reinstating Tanner Cross in Loudoun School Board Lawsuit

The Loudoun County Circuit Court ordered Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) to reinstate teacher Tanner Cross in a decision Tuesday. Cross is suing the Loudoun County School Board after he spoke at a school board meeting saying he would not use students’ preferred pronouns.

On Friday, the case had a lengthy hearing in the court where the defendants asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit; Cross’ team asked the court to issue a temporary injunction to allow him to return to work while the case proceeds.

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Political Ads and Gun Shows: A GOP Gubernatorial Update

The Republican Party of Virginia has finally selected a clear nomination process, and the GOP gubernatorial candidates are working to register delegates who will vote for them in the unassembled convention. They’re also attending gun shows, launching new political ads, and attacking the Virginia Parole Board.

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Virginia Gubernatorial Candidate Kirk Cox Calls for Next Steps to Address Learning Losses from Virtual Classes

Virginia’s Democratic leadership is finally starting to call for a return to in-person learning, but gubernatorial candidate Delegate Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) is calling for immediate next steps to address learning losses caused by virtual learning. In a Thursday press conference, Cox laid out his proposals, including expanding availability of tutors, assessing learning loss, and providing financial support to parents for remedial materials.

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Loudoun County School Board Backpedals on Policy Limiting Free Speech Indefinitely After Public Outcry

Loudoun County School Board voted this week to revise their “Professional Conduct” policy governing employee speech off of school property. Up until the latest meeting, members recommended to approve and accept the policy.
Apparently, public outcry from teachers unions and community members led to this decision.

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More Madness in Virginia’s School Systems: Free Speech… Unless We Disagree

The Loudoun County School Board will vote on a policy silencing employees who disagree with racial equity practices. The proposal would extend the school’s jurisdiction over off-campus speech, including social media, speeches, and any written forms of communication.
The new policy would govern employee speech “during and after school or work hours, whether on or off school board property, including the property of any school, office, or facility.”

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