Judge Dismisses Loudoun County School Board Recalls

Laura Morris

A judge dismissed recall efforts against Loudoun County School Board Chair Brenda Sheridan and Atoosa Reaser Monday, after an outside prosecutor couldn’t find evidence to pursue the recall.

“I’m so grateful that today, the independent Commonwealth’s attorney found that their petition lacks any reasonable factual basis,” Reaser said in a press conference recorded by 7NewsDC.

Reaser said the process took a toll on her and her family.

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School Board Politics Underlie Virginia Beach House Races

Virginia Beach has several competitive House of Delegates races where Republicans hope to make gains that will help power them to a House of Delegates majority.  GOP candidates are focusing on a mix of law-and-order and education policy in a city where school board politics underlie several of the local House races.

In HD 83, Attorney Tim Anderson is challenging Delegate Nancy Guy (D-Virginia Beach), a former school board member. In the past, Anderson has endorsed and legally represented School Board Member Victoria Manning, a member of a conservative minority faction on the school board. Manning herself has pushed for recalls of her fellow school board members, including Vice Chair Kim Melnyk, who is challenging Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach) in HD 84. Additionally, 2020 school board candidate Jeffrey Feld is challenging Delegate Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach) in HD 81.

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Wisconsin Mom: School Board Recall Effort About Parents Getting Involved, Not Just Masks

What started out as frustration over coronavirus rules and face masks has now grown into an effort across Wisconsin to recall dozens of local school board members.

Voters in the Mequon-Thiensville school district will decide on Nov 2 if four members of the local school board should keep their seats. Mequon-Thiensville is just the latest of Wisconsin’s school board recalls.

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In Surprise Win for Recall Proponents, Loudoun School Board Member Beth Barts Announces Resignation

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.”

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Recall Effort Against Loudoun School Board Member Beth Barts Clears Initial Hurdles

Fight for Schools PAC had three minor wins in court this week in the effort to recall Loudoun County School Board Member Beth Barts. In a Tuesday hearing, the circuit court judge denied Barts’ motion to dismiss the recall petition, agreed to appoint a special prosecutor, and granted the PAC’s motion to intervene.

“Today was a very good day in court for Fight For Schools and a bad day for Beth Barts and her efforts to silence and criminalize parents in Loudoun County. Beth Barts tried to get all of the signatures that we have collected thrown out, the judge ruled against her and in our favor. The case will proceed,” Fight for Schools said on Facebook.

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Virginia Beach School Board Member Leading Recall Effort Against Six Other Members

Virginia Beach School Board Member Victoria Manning is one of the leaders of a group trying to recall six other school board members. Students First VA (SFVA) announced this week that it is collecting signature for the recalls, focusing on 2020-2021 virtual learning.

“We believe that students should always be first and that the goal of the school system, the goal of the board, the goal of the administration, the goal of the teachers should be to put those interests above all else. And we’re not convinced that’s been done around the state, but especially focused here in Virginia Beach,” SFVA President Tim Mack told The Virginia Star. “If you look both at the recall petition themselves as well as our website and other sources, you’ll see that the school board certainly had information to make a different decision than it did and decided to close schools against the wishes of parents, against the direction of local physicians, and healthcare providers, as well as the CDC. And we think that those decisions were not good for all the students in the school, in particular, those with special needs.”

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Open Fairfax County School Board Files Motion to Reconsider Elaine Tholen Recall

Elaine Tholen for Fairfax County School Board, Dranesville

The Open FCPS Coalition is calling for the court to reconsider the recall case against Fairfax County School Board member Elaine Tholen. In a Monday press release, the coalition alleged that the prosecutor who said there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue the case had conflicts of interest.

“Following James Hingeley’s decision to not represent the over 5,000 voters that signed a recall petition against Elaine Tholen, it was revealed that Hingeley actually campaigned with Ms. Tholen in 2019,” the release states.

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Roundup: Fight for Schools Submits Petition to Recall Loudoun School Board Member Beth Barts; Other Virginia School Board Updates

Fight for Schools PAC announced Wednesday that they have collected 158 percent of the signatures necessary to ask a court to recall Loudoun School Board Member Beth Barts.

“For five months, Loudoun County has been at the center of local, state, national, and even international media attention. Much of this is due to the actions of Beth Barts. She has shown a complete inability to comply with the law, her own code of conduct, and the basic decency that accompanies being an elected official in the United States of America,” Fight for Schools Executive Director Ian Prior said in a press release.

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Virginia Court Dismisses Recall Effort Against Fairfax County School Board Member Elaine Tholen at Request of Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney

The effort to recall Fairfax County School Board Member Elaine Tholen hit a dead end Friday, when Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Hingeley asked Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Richard Gardiner to dismiss the recall petition. According to Tholen’s press release, Hingeley said the petition did not have factual allegations that met the legal standard.

“In this case, a small group of people unhappy about Covid restrictions tried to use the law to substitute their opinion for a unanimous consensus of the Fairfax County School Board. I was happy to hear the special prosecutor tell the judge that the case was about a policy disagreement, and that the recall process is not a vehicle to resolve such disputes with elected officials and governing bodies. That is why we have elections,” Tholen said.

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Fight for Schools PAC Has Enough Signatures for Recall Petition Against Loudoun School Board Member Ian Serotkin

Ian Serotkin

A recall petition targeting Loudoun County Public School (LCPS) Board Member Ian Serotkin has 110 percent of the signatures needed, Fight for Schools PAC organizer Ian Prior said Friday. Recall petitions aimed at other school board members are also nearing target amounts. The PAC has 88 percent of signatures needed for the Denise Corbo petition, 75 percent of signatures needed for the Leslee King petition, 54 percent of signatures for the Atoosa Reaser petition, and 50 percent of signatures needed for the Brenda Sheridan petition.

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School Board Member Recalls Are Allowed in Virginia

Groups in Loudoun County and Fairfax County are attempting to recall school board members. They’re part of a national increase of school board recalls in 2021, according to Ballotpedia, which reports 58 recall efforts in 2021, targeting 144 officials. That’s up from a 2006 to 2020 average of 23 recalls.

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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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