Loudoun School Critics Target ‘Dirty’ Books as Recall Petitions Circulate

The cadre of Loudoun schools critics who regularly line up at School Board meetings to lambast COVID-related closings and restrictions as well as the division’s equity initiative returned to another familiar subject Tuesday night.

During a 45-minute public comment period, several speakers read sexually graphic sentences from two books that are part of the classroom diverse book collections: ”Monday’s Not Coming” by Tiffany D. Jackson and “#MurderTrending” by Gretchen McNeil.

“If this is inappropriate for me to read to you, this is inappropriate for our children,” said Patti Menders, after reading one passage. “We are here because we care. We care about our children. Please get these dirty books out of our schools.”

Concerns about the reading material began in 2019, but waned as the critics more recently focused on school closings and charges that administrators were inserting elements of critical race theory into teacher training and curricula, claims division leaders have denied.

The criticisms have spurred a formal recall effort against six of the nine School Board members as well as a push to keep Loudoun County in the national spotlight. The campaign targets School Board Chairwoman Brenda Sheridan (Sterling), Vice Chairwoman Atoosa Reeser (Algonkian), Beth Barts (Leesburg), Leslee King (Broad Run), Denise Corbo (At Large), and Ian Serotkin (Blue Ridge).

To bring a recall petition to Circuit Court, organizers must get the number of signatures in each district equivalent to at least 10% of voters who participated in the 2019 School Board elections—ranging from about 850 in the Sterling District to 11,600 for the At Large seat. If one or more recall petitions qualifies for a trial, the organizers must demonstrate the officer engaged in neglect of duty, misuse of office, or incompetence in the performance. 

Recall efforts in Virginia are rarely successful. Of the 19 such campaigns since 2010, only one resulted in a vote to remove the officer. Most fail to adequately document the required signatures or are dismissed by prosecutors or judges for insufficient evidence. The exception was Portsmouth Mayor James Holley in 2010. Holley, who was accused of using a city assistant for personal tasks, holds the distinction of being the first American politician to be recalled twice. 

In Loudoun County, the most recent recall effort to reach the court targeted then-supervisor Eugene Delgaudio, who in 2014 was accused of misusing county resources to support fundraising for his political nonprofit. After a petition achieved the required number of signatures, the case was referred to a special prosecutor who convened a grand jury. The prosecutor ultimately requested the case dismissed because of the lack of clear and convincing evidence. Delgaudio sought reelection the following year, but was defeated.

11 thoughts on “Loudoun School Critics Target ‘Dirty’ Books as Recall Petitions Circulate

  • 2021-05-13 at 4:50 pm

    That this newspaper won’t reprint the words and phrases from these concerned parents says it all. As one speaker correctly stated, he couldn’t say those things in a work environment, as he, or any other person, would be fired and/or slapped with a sexual harassment lawsuit. Yet, this is what the school system is teaching our kids — how to sexually harass people.

    The school board and the administration are poison with their racism and toxic hate mongering.

    • 2021-05-13 at 9:55 pm

      I totally agree, Chris. The last man to speak in the video was excellent and he made great points- when he asked if any of the adults in the room wanted to talk about some of the lines in the books, and not one hand went up, that painted a very accurate picture. It is so sad that our school system has gone completely off the rails.
      Wayde Byard is kidding himself if he believes a student will A. feel like they can speak out against these kinds of books, and B. Feel like there will be no repercussions if they ask to be assigned another book.
      This entire school board has to go- soon.

  • 2021-05-13 at 6:51 pm

    Participating in a Facebook “hit team” certainly qualifies as “misuse of office.” These people are going down.

  • 2021-05-14 at 8:27 am

    I’d like to add my name to the list of parents calling for the recall of Ian Serotkin and all at large board members. Does anyone know how to sign the petition or where to find it? That would have been helpful to include in the article.

  • 2021-05-14 at 9:53 am

    I would to sign also? The “permalinks” above do not work is there another way to post the link?

  • 2021-05-14 at 11:33 am

    The article doesn’t say what grade level these books are aimed at. If these are elementary age books then maybe we have a problem. But if these are high school books I really think we need to move on. It’s funny how the people who don’t want to be told they have to wear masks or that it’s not safe to be in school (last year), etc. are so quick to be the people telling everyone else what’s morally right and what they should or shouldn’t be reading. If you don’t like it, then don’t let YOUR KIDS read it and leave everyone else to make those decisions for their kids. However, I’d bet high school age kids are seeing/reading worse things than that…probably at home.

    • 2021-05-14 at 12:59 pm

      You make a partial point WLG. Don’t read books you don’t approve of. Choice. Kids are watching far worse at home. I get it.

      I bet you don’t use those words at the dinner table with your kids.
      I bet you wouldn’t use those words and descriptions at work, or in any business environment.
      I bet you wouldn’t use the words and descriptions in a public setting.
      I bet you couldn’t repeat these things at a BoS meeting. Phyllis would throw you out.
      I bet you’d knock flat anyone who spoke in these terms to any member of your family, particularly the ladies.

      So why is it acceptable for the school board and the administration to push these things on our kids at school? Kids have enough pressures without having to read about locking young girls in closets for days at a time.

      I encourage everyone to view the public comment section of Tuesday’s board meeting. It’s online. I was appalled at the things being said in a public meeting. And watch the SB and the dud interim superintendent look on with thinly veiled disgust at the parents they’re “at war” with. We have a problem Western.

    • 2021-05-14 at 2:18 pm

      I fully agree with westernloudounguy. In addition, no wanting to read a sex scene in a book in a room full of adults don’t make the book bad or “dirty,” it just makes everyone uncomfortable. Being able to talk with your kids (again, this is assuming the books are age appropriate) about sex is something that is hard for most parents, but is something they absolutely should do and such a passage in a book wouldn’t be a bad way to broach the subject IMHO.

    • 2021-05-14 at 7:47 pm

      Your intuition was correct, these books are for the 9th graders.

  • 2021-05-25 at 4:54 pm

    Our School Board is national news for ALL THE WRONG REASONS.

    Get your neighbors to sign the petition and throw ALL the board members OUT.

    Supporting porn in the school system and signing on to an Enemies List are two (of many) reasons to toss them all on the street.


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