FIRST ON FOX: The parent organization Fight for Schools has obtained enough signatures to challenge all four of the remaining Loudoun County School Board members who were in the private Facebook group that launched a campaign against parents who oppose critical race theory in the classroom. The organization filed the petitions against Board Chair Brenda Sheridan on Tuesday.
Ian Prior, a father and executive director at Fight for Schools, told Fox News that his organization has acquired enough signatures to petition the court to remove Sheridan (Sterling District), Board Vice-Chair Atoosa Reaser (Algonkian District), Ian Serotkin (Blue Ridge District), and Denise Corbo, the at-large member.
"Today, we just filed 1200 signatures to remove the chairwoman of Loudoun County School Board, Brenda Sheridan," Prior told Fox News on Tuesday. "We decided that for the chairwoman and the vice-chairwoman, the buck stops with them, that we were going to draft new petitions. … We were able to finish those off in 13 days."
"For six months, Fight for Schools has been out collecting signatures in the heat, the cold, the rain, and even hail," Prior told Fox News on Monday. "To get 20,000 signatures during that time is a testament to the dedication of our volunteers and an engaged community that wants to see a change on its school board."
"We are looking forward to the next steps and replacing school board members that are political servants with non-partisan public servants who will put the focus back on excellence in education," he added.
In order to remove an elected official in Virginia, petitioners must acquire a number of signatures equal to 10% of the votes cast in the previous election for that office. If a judge approves the petition, the Commonwealth's Attorney prosecutes the case. Prior told Fox News that Fight for Schools had obtained 1,217 signatures against Sheridan (152% of the required amount), 1,859 signatures against Reaser (153%), 2,979 of the signatures against Serotkin (137%), and 13,336 signatures against Corbo (124%).
Fight for Schools previously acquired enough signatures to challenge Beth Barts (Leesburg District) before she resigned. The court had allowed the case against Barts to proceed, but a judge barred Buta Biberaj, the county's Commonwealth's Attorney, from presiding over the case. Biberaj had expressed support for the district's racial equity policies, which parents have faulted for inculcating critical race theory.
Prior told Fox News that he expects the court to bar Biberaj from the cases against Sheridan, Reaser, Serotkin, and Corbo, as well.
The petition effort began earlier this year, after reports emerged that members of a Facebook group called "Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County" had compiled a list of outspoken conservatives and opponents of critical race theory in order to track, hack, and "doxx" them.
Many parents have opposed critical race theory (CRT) — a framework that involves deconstructing aspects of society to discover systemic racism beneath the surface — believing it to be divisive and racist. While many have insisted that Virginia's schools do not teach CRT, various government documents contradict this narrative, including a contract showing that Loudoun County Schools paid more than $300,000 to The Equity Collaborative, which begins its trainings with an "Intro to Critical Race Theory."
The petitions allege that Sheridan, Reaser, Serotkin, and Corbo failed to report "a campaign of targeted harassment sparked by Beth Barts' March 12 Facebook post" in the Anti-Racist Parents group. The board members did not report the campaign to law enforcement, warn their constituents about it, denounce it, or abide by the school board's requirement for transparency whenever school board members are gathered, the petitions claim.
The petitions claim that board members "focused board attention on open bathroom policies, renaming schools, removing class rank, issuing special proclamations… and other issues unrelated to the core issue of a safe environment that is focused on an education program of high quality."
Education issues in Loudoun County took center stage in the Virginia governor's race, which Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin won in part by championing parental rights in education, and pledging to ban CRT in schools. Youngkin has called for many school board members to resign.
If the cases go to trial, a judge or a jury will rule whether or not to remove the board members. If any board member is removed, the board would have 45 days to appoint an interim replacement and 15 days to petition the court for a special election.
The school board members did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Fox News' Jon Michael Raasch contributed to this report.