*Please note—this story was updated to include additional information on Attorney Buta Biberaj and her connection with the Smith family case.
Beth Barts, a vocal Loudoun County Public School (LCPS) Board member, resigned on Friday after a successful petition to remove her and a subsequent lawsuit. A growing contingent of local parents is breathing a sigh of relief because they do not want politics to dictate policy in their public schools.
Ian Prior's Fight For Schools and a group called #ArmyForParents, co-founded by local mother, Elicia Brand, sought to remove Barts because of her neglect of duty, misuse of office, and incompetence in the performance of her duties. They have their eyes on five other board members for removal.
The groups have also been fighting the school board for months because of their positions on Critical Race Theory (CRT), transgender and LBGTQ-friendly policies, and mask mandates in the county's schools.
Of note is the fact that Barts will be replaced not with the votes of the county's parents but will be selected by board colleagues.
The groups celebrated a victory in court on Oct. 5 when "Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge Jeanette A. Irby ruled in their favor—three times—after months of showing up at school board meetings and working tirelessly to petition citizens to sign off in the first step toward Barts' removal." Among the decisions favoring the two groups was the removal of a Loudoun County Commonwealth attorney, Buta Biberaj (D), because of alleged bias. The judge told the plaintiffs she would find an unbiased special prosecutor for the case.
Barts was the so-called "ringleader of the Chardonnay Antifa," a name assigned to her by some parents in the community because of her activist posts on Twitter and Facebook that allegedly targeted parents who disagreed with her worldview and its translation into policy decisions for LCPS. Barts allegedly stoked like-minded people to target parents with differing points of view both on social media and in real life.
Barts letter made no mention of her political leanings or the parents who are at odds with her position on so many issues. The resignation was celebrated by many parents in the community who felt that her political beliefs were guiding her decisions on policies in the suburban Virginia community. The group had collected almost 1,900 signatures, and they feel they have a good chance of removing two other board members.
Barts had been particularly vocal about her stance on transgender rights. After the June 22 school board meeting, she participated in a discussion with Superintendent Scott Ziegler on Policy 8040. The policy had been discussed during the public comment section where an altercation broke out between a Trans-allied activist and a parent, Scott Smith, whose daughter had been raped in a girl's bathroom by a "boy wearing a skirt."
Ziegler denied such an incident ever happened during a discussion between him and board members after the public comment session. Barts broached the subject of the alleged assault with Ziegler. Ziegler's statement read:
"To my knowledge, we don't have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms," he said.
"I think it's important to keep our perspective on this, we've heard it several times tonight from our public speakers, but the predator transgender student or person simply does not exist."
A video of the altercation between Smith and the Trans-allied woman went viral on social media, and Smith was incorrectly labeled as a "white supremacist." He wrongly became the "poster boy" for what the National School Boards Association (NSBA) is now labeling as domestic terrorists, those parents who seek to advocate for their children in school board meetings. Their letter to that effect prompted Attorney Merrick Garland to activate the FBI and other federal and state agencies to investigate parents nationwide who are suspected of "violence."
In reality, Smith was reacting to a verbal attack by the Trans-allied individual and was merely trying to tell the person what had happened to his daughter. He never intended to speak, nor did he speak during public comment in June, even though his daughter was violated due in part to the schools' transgender policies.
The family has filed a lawsuit against the county for failing to provide a safe environment for their daughter. The boy, claiming to be "gender-fluid," was detained briefly and allowed to go back to school, where he allegedly sexually molested another high school girl. The local sheriff's office posted the following notification of the second incident.
Sheriff Loudoun County/Arrest
Notably, the very attorney, Buta Biberaj, who was removed by the judge in the Beth Barts lawsuit, was the same attorney who pushed unsuccessfully for jail time for Scott Smith in June. She was also involved in the decision to allow the boy who raped Smith's daughter to attend another school. She defended the decision, saying, per the New York Post, "'he had no history of having done this'" and wanted people "'to be patient' during the investigation."
Biberaj campaigned on and won, in part, because of her position on mass incarceration. She also told the Washington Post in 2019 that she wanted "to make sure we are working with our school system and law enforcement to make sure we are decreasing the number of kids who are referred to our court system.”
According to a Loudoun Now story in 2019, Biberaj received $659k from Democratic donor George Soros during that campaign. The Washington Free Beacon estimates she received more than $800K. She raised record funds in that campaign.
Parents are now calling for the resignation of Superintendent Ziegler because they feel he failed to acknowledge the policies in the district have led to an unsafe environment for their children. LCPS addressed the issue on Oct. 13 with the following statement, blaming their lack of transparency on issues of privacy and Title lX obligations:
Ziegler apologized during a press conference on Oct. 15. during which he admitted that "Title lX does not sufficiently protect K-12" students. He also blamed a previous administration for omitting sexual assault incidents from reports to the state.
Ziegler's full statement, posted by Brand on the #ArmyOfParents Facebook page, follows below:
Ziegler Statement/Oct. 15, 2021
The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is reportedly investigating "discrepancies in LCPS sexual assault reporting, stating "this is a matter VDOE takes very seriously."
Attorneys for the Smith family followed on Friday with a response to Ziegler's press conference, saying that Ziegler is not taking responsibility for the district's negligence but rather is "[blaming] the district's Title lX protocols" for the failure to protect the Smith's daughter. The Attorney for the family states:
"Loudoun County Public Schools [is] in this situation because it prioritized misguided policies of political correctness over student safety."
Meanwhile, some of the more vocal parents, including Asra Nomani, showed up on the steps of the Justice Department in D.C. to protest AG Garland's new policy to unleash federal agencies on parents if they dare to speak up.
Three teachers with the schools are also protesting the mandate to use trans and non-binary students' pronouns with a lawsuit. Two of the teachers recently joined Tanner Cross in the lawsuit. Cross was suspended because of his opposition to Policy 8040, saying in a school board meeting that the requirement to use chosen pronouns violates free speech. The court later reinstated him.
The ACLU of Virginia answered the petition with an Amicus Brief referenced in their press release on Oct. 13. They say the use of chosen pronouns "can exacerbate gender dysphoria and harm socio-emotional development during critical childhood years."
ACLU/Tanner Cross, et al
A Providence, Rhode Island middle school teacher has been called for removal for being a whistle-blower about CRT. Students left nasty notes demanding that she be terminated in her classroom because of her stance on CRT.