NAACP Loudoun Branch seal

NAACP Loudoun Branch.

The NAACP Loudoun Branch announced Tuesday it will seek to join the recall cases of two school board members as the public waits for a circuit court judge to decide whether to allow a political action committee — made up of mostly parents — to join in the cases and disqualify Commonwealth’s Attorney, Buta Biberaj (D) from prosecuting the cases.

Petitioners from the Sterling and Algonkian districts are seeking the removal of School Board Members Brenda Sheridan (Sterling District) and Atoosa Reaser (Algonkian District), respectively.

Biberaj, without providing counsel before the filings, is representing the petitioners.

“The NAACP sees the school board recall as a Jim Crow-esque effort of 2022 to suppress votes, and to silence the will of the people,” said Michelle Thomas, local pastor and president of the NAACP Loudoun Branch, to the Times-Mirror on Tuesday.

2021 Juneteenth Celebration | Michelle Thomas

Michelle Thomas, president of the NAACP Loudoun Branch and founder of the Loudoun Freedom Center, speaks to a crowd during a Juneteenth celebration in 2021.

“Having the school board recalls — in particular, those on the school board, who are Democrats — is a targeted effort just to kind of usurp authority and that’s unfortunate,” she said. “No longer are they asking you to count jellybeans in a jar, no longer are they asking you to name the presidents backwards — they have a new process. It is a very careful, shrewd, modern process of recalling and it does the same thing; it suppresses the vote.”

Charlie King and Phillip Thompson are representing the NAACP Loudoun Branch in their effort. The two said if Fight for Schools, the political action committee behind the petitions, can intervene, then the NAACP Loudoun Branch should be permitted to join the cases.

Thompson and King declined to answer what would happen if Fight for Schools were not permitted. However, the group was permitted to intervene by the same sitting judge in a previous case that was later dismissed.

“Since 1940, the NAACP has been the guardian of equality in education in Loudoun County, and when a lie about critical race theory threatens the education of all students, not just students of color, the NAACP cannot be idle and must act,” King said.

Thompson added that “This effort, which is built on what we feel like are fabrications of the truth relating to how what’s being taught in Loudoun County Public Schools, and what’s going on, is being directed toward the issue of equity and diversity in schools and we feel like we need to be involved in this process.”

Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge Jeanette A. Irby, who heard motions during a seven-hour hearing, estimated on Jan. 5 she would have a ruling in two weeks at the earliest as she awaits the transcript and additional documents from counsel.

No ruling has been made as of Tuesday evening, according to court records.

The two school board members, represented by Dawn Boyce, of Bancroft, McGavin, Horvath & Judkins, PC, argued against the motion to allow Fight for Schools to join the suit.

Boyce argued that allowing such a political action group to be involved would set a precedent for groups who “have an interest” in future cases.

Attorney David Warrington, who is representing Fight for Schools, argued that the motion should be granted.

Fight for Schools, a political action committee made up of mostly parents, coordinated the recall petitions. The group claims Biberaj, the prosecutor, was a member of private Facebook group targeting parents against critical race theory and shared on social media a newspaper opinion piece that discussed the academic concept.

A second motions hearing is scheduled for Feb. 23, starting at 10 a.m. for Sheridan and Reaser at 1 p.m.

Petitions to remove an elected official from office require signatures from district residents equal to at least 10% of the votes cast for that official’s post during the last election, according to Virginia Code.

Further, the code states that upon petition, “a circuit court may remove from office any elected officer or officer who has been appointed to fill an elective office, residing within the jurisdiction of the court for negligence of duty, misuse of office, or incompetence in the performance of duties when that negligence of duty, misuse of office, or incompetence in the performance of duties has a material adverse effect upon the conduct of the office.”

As previously reported, Fight for Schools is also seeking the removal of Ian Serotkin of the Blue Ridge District and At-Large member Denise Corbo. Fight For Schools had not filed a petition seeking their removal as of Tuesday evening.

The late Broad Run District member Leslee King was removed from the group’s recall list after her death at the end of August. King, who was 74, died due to complications from heart surgery.

Former school board member Beth Barts resigned on Nov. 2, amid Fight for Schools’ effort to recall her from her post. She cited threats against her and her family as the reason for her resignation.

Her case was dismissed last month after Irby allowed Fight for Schools to join the case as a party and appointed a special prosecutor.

King represented Barts in her recall case.

A press conference is scheduled on Friday at the Old Loudoun County Courthouse at 10 a.m.

Recall for Reaser: Signatures, claims

The petition to recall Reaser received at least 1,859 signatures, according to a Nov. 9 email to the Times-Mirror from Fight For Schools.

Petitioners claim in their filings that Reaser routinely limited the First Amendment rights of speakers and listeners by shutting down public comment and putting in place rules to prevent speakers based on their viewpoints; and had general knowledge of a sexual assault case involving a teenager and the teen’s subsequent transfer to a different school, where he then committed an assault on a second student while awaiting trial.

Further, the group claims she did not leave a private Facebook group when the suspension of a teacher and his subsequent lawsuit against a Loudoun County Public Schools was being discussed by former board member Barts and others in the group.

Recall for Sheridan: Signatures, claims

The Citizens of Sterling group, which collected 1,217 signatures, claims that Sheridan committed neglect of duty, misuse of office, and incompetence in the performance of her duties in their petition.

The filing includes allegations that Sheridan, then chair of the school board, “limited the First Amendment rights of speakers and listeners by shutting down public comment” at board meetings and implementing rules to curb speakers based on their viewpoint.

(6) comments

J Smith

It’s sad when the NAACP of Loudoun, an organization that could be doing so much good for the black population in Loudoun county, only has one card to offer blacks.

That card is: “Our votes are being suppressed.”

Really? Please show us NAACP any black person in Loudoun who wants to vote that can’t or is hindered in voting.

I’m sure help would be overflowing to get him or her to the polls on election day.

Having a recall is not silencing the will of the people. It’s is a legal process enacted by law to remove an elected official from office when they are negligent in their duties or are misusing their office.

Petitioners from the Sterling and Algonkian school districts are following the legal process to remove their two school board members because they violated the First Amendment Rights of parents, and covered up the sexual assault of a teenage girl at one high school and were complicit in the sexual assault of a second girl at another high school by the same perpetrator who was transferred there.

Those are gross violations of their responsibilities as elected school board members. They deserve to be recalled.

Does the NAACP really want to be on the side of suppressing First Amendment Rights and covering up sexual assault? Looks like it.

The NAACP has lost its original vision of trying to help the black population advance. The NAACP has now become a political action arm of the democratic party.

Too bad. Because it’s actually the democrat party that is holding the black population down. It’s the democrat party that must have minorities believing that they need the government to succeed.

Democrat policies have destroyed the black family. Just look at every single big city in our country. They’re all led by democrats and the black and other minority families in those cities are being ravaged.

The democrat party and the NAACP endorse Critical Race Theory and the concept of “equity”. At its core, CRT and “equity” teach people of color that they aren’t good enough to succeed on their own merit. That people need help based on the color of their skin.

How demeaning and condescending to minorities. Could you tell a child, a teenager, or young adult anything worse to hold them down from believing in themselves, working hard, pursuing excellence, and reaching their full potential?

The good news is that more and more blacks and minorities are leaving the democrat party. They’re seeing the light that democrats and their policies are the ones holding them down.

Republicans don’t see skin color. Republicans value excellence, republicans value freedom, and applaud it whenever it is seen.

jke

Anything involving the local Naacp I see as Black Crow-esque.

jke

Did any of the groups listed besides Fight for Schools do the work to bring this to court?

Nope!

They didn’t participate gathering signatures, as far as I know they never supported this effort Did any members from those above donate to with their funds.

Nope!

Do the groups besides Fight for Schools want Buta, Brenda and Atoosa removed?

Nopity nope!

Is there any reason outside of Charlie’s drama and lawyer tricks which amount to delays allowing these groups to join Fight for Schools and their righteous endeavor?

Nope!

romano

Thomas says the recall is to "suppress votes"..LOL....you can't make this stuff up, folks.

jke

Was Charlie King the attorney for Barts, how did that work out.

Do not remember hearing word one from the NAACP until yesterday, something smells fishy, follow the money. Is there a conflict when Charlie's clients end up paying the NAACP to settle cases out of court? I hope Miyares expands his inquiry into the finance report for this organization and Chair Randall, you know the Chair who hired the embezzler.

jke

The number one race baiter in Loudoun calling us racists when one of the current recall school board members is white, priceless!

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