Petition Filed Seeking Barts Removal from School Board

Fight for Schools, the group leading the charge in the efforts to remove Loudoun County School Board members, filed a petition in Circuit Court today to recall Beth Barts (Leesburg). The group said its submission includes 1,860 signatures from Leesburg residents.

Barts was one of several School Board members involved in a private Facebook group that sparked controversy when some members sought to compile a list  of Loudouners who seemed to oppose the school district’s racial equity work. Fight for Schools formed in response to that Facebook group and concerns that Critical Race Theory influences the school district’s teacher training and curriculum. In March, the School Board voted 7-0-1 to censure Barts and strip her of her committee assignments, citing her behavior on social media beginning in June 2020 through February 2021.

The group also is collecting signatures on petitions to remove other School Board members, except for John Beatty (Catoctin) and Jeff Morse (Dulles). The petition for Ian Serotkin (Blue Ridge) has more than the number of signatures needed, but has not yet been filed, the group stated.

Ian Prior, executive director of Fight for Schools, described Barts’ behavior as “so far beyond the pale of anything that is acceptable for an elected official in this country.”

In the 24-page filing, Prior alleges that a School Board member discussing public matters in a private Facebook group is a violation of rules governing conduct of elected officials.

The uproar surrounding the group and the ensuing culture war among parents came with national conservative media attention, and Loudoun County has been the focal point of conversations surrounding Critical Race Theory in schools. Superintendent Scott Ziegler has clarified that CRT is not being taught to students, and presented findings from an investigation conducted by the Equity Collaborative that show systemic racism exists in schools in the district.

The petition also requests the court to recuse Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj from the case, as Biberaj also has been identified as a member of the Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County Facebook group. Biberaj is facing a similar recall effort introduced by the conservative group, StandUp Virginia, for her office’s alleged mishandling of criminal cases in the county.

Charlie King, Barts’ attorney, said he is confident that the petition will be dismissed.

“We are about to start Loudoun’s version of the Scopes Monkey Trial, except the issue today is critical race theory, not evolution,” said King. He referred to a 1925 case in which a teacher was accused of breaking a Tennessee law outlawing teaching about evolution.

King said he will ask for a court date as soon possible, and expects local judges and Biberaj to recuse themselves from the case. 

In neighboring Fairfax County, a similar petition to remove School Board member Elaine Tholen was dismissed last week. 

To remove an elected official, a petition must have a signature county equal to 10% of the votes cast in the previous election for that office. The petition is then reviewed by a judge, and, if accepted, the Commonwealth’s Attorney prosecutes the case. 

11 thoughts on “Petition Filed Seeking Barts Removal from School Board

  • 2021-08-25 at 6:13 pm

    Yet another ridiculously biased piece. The absurd King quote is useful in showing that Barts has hired an real “winner” for a lawyer. Barts has crossed enough lines to draw censure by her Democrat colleagues on the school board. She has engaged in conduct that is at best highly unethical and most likely illegal. Removal from office should be just the start of the process against Barts.

  • 2021-08-25 at 7:40 pm

    First let me say I think Barts should be recalled along with the other members of that facebook group.

    So if 99% voted in favor of Barts at the election, does it really only take 10% to undue that? Something doesn’t seem right about the math. Or is that just to get a Judge to look at it and decide her actions were such that she should not hold office.

    • 2021-08-26 at 12:59 pm

      That’s just to get it in front of a judge. They will now have to make the case that she should be removed form office due to Neglect of duty, Misuse of office, Incompetence in the performance of the Office or for conviction of a misdemeanor relating to drugs or a hate crime or for sexual battery. As far as I’m aware, those are the only permissible reasons for a recall. They have a steep hill to climb.

    • 2021-09-15 at 6:25 pm

      I agree… all 8 elected officials should be removed from office… the six school board members, the Commonwealth’s Attorney (how is this NOT creating a conflict of interest?), and the Algonkian supervisor.

  • 2021-08-25 at 8:31 pm

    I used to think it was the Trump clown car…now I see it’s more like a bus. So many fascists pushing so much hate and misinformation. I get the idea behind their recalls. They don’t believe in democracy or voting or the results of elections–unless their person wins. Shame on these people.

  • 2021-08-25 at 8:34 pm

    Is this author/blogger the absolute worst reporter in the Western hemisphere? She says Ziegler “clarified” CRT is not taught when CRT concepts are found throughout everything LCPS does?! She says that the Equity Collaborative presented “findings” from an “investigation”?!!! They had a pre-written report ready to go before they arrived to find a few (likely false) unverified anecdotes were provided by rabblerousers.

    Is this article a late April Fool’s joke?

  • 2021-08-26 at 10:56 am

    A real petition! That will get some attention, which will be needed in order to distract from the soon to be failed recall distraction.

    When will outside agitators stop ginning up the knobs?

  • 2021-08-26 at 11:18 am

    I support the removal and replacement of all SB members.

    The taxpayers, parents and children of Loudoun deserve leaders who are committed to education.
    Who will put ALL children first.
    Who won’t support a curriculum that brands certain children as racist or privileged.
    Who won’t bow down to organized labor.
    Who won’t settle for falling test scores.
    Who will show some fiscal restraint when it comes to spending.
    Who will conduct a transparent and thorough search for a new LCPS Superintendent.

  • 2021-08-26 at 4:00 pm

    I see Geary Higgins in the photo…and a known provocateur who worked briefly in the Trump administration…you’ve heard of astroturfing? Faking a grass roots movement in order to advance some narrow, partisan advantage. Folks, this is a classic case of just that. These are the same people who were protesting masks and social distancing in front of the court house not very long ago. Swamp denizens who want to discredit and trivialize elections (unless, of course, they are on the winning side).

  • 2021-08-26 at 5:12 pm

    Well done Ian and group now nail the other 5 haters!

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