The Loudoun County School Board is once again in the national spotlight.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) pointed to the embattled School Board in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, criticizing Garland’s directive that the FBI investigate threats from parents against School Board members.
“In your very backyard of Virginia, there have been shocking efforts by public officials to organize for the intimidation and harassment of parents who have the temerity to want a better education for their children,” McConnell said in the letter. “One Loudoun County School Board member participated in a Facebook group that compiled a list of parents opposed to Critical Race Theory and discussed hacking their websites. It’s a situation where legal accountability is difficult because the Loudoun County Prosecutor was also a member of the group seeking to ‘doxx’ concerned parents.”
McConnell is referencing School Board member Beth Barts (Leesburg) who is facing a removal effort in Circuit Court over her involvement in the group Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County, where members allegedly compiled lists of people openly opposed to the school district’s racial equity work.
The issue of violence against School Board members reached new heights when the National School Board Association asked President Joseph R. Biden for “immediate assistance” for School Board members who’ve faced threats over mask mandates and Critical Race Theory. Following the NSBA’s request to Biden, Garland directed the FBI and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to collaborate with law enforcement agencies to address the growing trend of threats against School Boards.
Loudoun School Board members have shared on social media threats and hateful messages received from online from parents. Atoosa Reaser (Algonkian), one of five School Board members facing a removal effort, shared on her Facebook a message she received in April.
“Don’t be surprised when you low-IQ, poorly educated, and morally bankrupt pinko traitors are dragged from your beds in the middle of the night and hanged by the neck until dead by the righteously angry parents of your community,” the message said.
Last week, Michael Biron, the man who signed the removal petition representing the petitioners against Barts, sent an email to the full School Board referencing Reaser’s sharing of an article about the NSBA request. The article suggested that some parents might be considered “domestic terrorists.”
“So this monkey face is calling me a domestic terrorist?!” the email said, which included a photo of Reaser.
While the email is not signed, it matches the email address presented in documents included in a subpoena response from Barts’ attorney.
The court filings in the removal case against Barts also show dozens of emails between Biron and School Board members, ranging from sharing concerns over masking protocols, to saying to Barts, “You are pathetic, next time you send someone pictures of yourself … pick a pig.”
In response to the outrage from members of the public, School Board meetings this year have featured far more restricted access for the public. The public is not permitted to enter the boardroom during public comment. Commenters also must be either students, parents of students, or business owners in the county.
Sept. 28’s meeting saw an increased security presence, including a K-9 unit outside of the administrative offices. People entering the building were screened by security and not permitted to bring bags inside.