I’ve been following Ed Morrissey’s coverage of the ongoing horror show in the Loudoun County, Virginia school district where multiple rapes of children inside school buildings were covered up by the school board. That lasted until the father of one of the victims who had been raped in a school bathroom by a boy wearing a skirt went public. There’s been a different sort of coverup taking place since then in the form of a near-total mainstream media blackout of the story, with a few incomplete exceptions. Despite the fact that the school board clearly appears to have violated state laws regarding sexual assaults, it still seemed as if nobody in the school system was going to be held accountable.
That situation may have started to change on Friday. There have been multiple calls from the parents of students in the district for school superintendent Scott Ziegler and the entire school board to resign. And as of yesterday, someone has indeed resigned. But it was only one member of the school board and not even the president. Her name is Beth Barts and as National Review reported yesterday, her resignation won’t even take effect until next month.
A member of the Loudoun County School Board announced her resignation on Friday, amid a recall effort and ongoing controversies over a reported case of sexual assault in school.
“Please accept this letter as my formal resignation from the Loudoun County School Board effective November 2, 2021,” Beth Barts wrote in a Facebook post. “This was not an easy decision or a decision made in haste. After much thought and careful consideration, it is the right decision for me and my family.”
Barts was already facing a recall attempt by a parent group called Fight for Schools, which accused Barts of initiating a “targeting campaign” against parents who opposed critical race theory.
I had initially held off on commenting on this story, partly because Ed was already covering it. But I think there was also an element of shock involved. This is a situation that is just so awful that it’s difficult to believe it’s really happening and it almost defies words.
As noted, the Loudoun County School Board has already been under plenty of pressure, with parents working to recall the members over issues of “critical race theory” curriculum in the schools. But as disturbing as many of these parents clearly find that to be, this latest outrage makes the CRT issues look like small potatoes. The fact that sexual assaults of children took place on school property in the first place is more than bad enough to begin with. But the efforts of the school superintendent to claim that nothing of the sort ever happened and for the board to continue trying to cover everything up are simply beyond the pale. Some of these people could definitely wind up being arrested, and with good reason. How do you not resign in shame at this point?
I also think there are more moving parts to the story than are being openly discussed. Recall that Scott Ziegler responded to the initial allegations by saying specifically that a sexual assault “by a transgender student” simply did not happen. From the beginning, he wasn’t focusing on Scott Smith’s daughter and the grotesque sexual assault she endured. Ziegler was rushing to defend the school board’s new policy allowing boys dressed as girls in the girl’s bathrooms and other facilities.
Parents had already been objecting to this when the policy was first announced, expressing concerns that a “girl with a penis” in the girl’s room could result in trouble. And when that precise, horrible outcome took place almost immediately, Ziegler clearly saw potential danger ahead for him. Was that his primary reason for denying the assaults? He’s not saying, but I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to put the pieces together and reach that conclusion.
So now we have one member of the school board who apparently couldn’t live with the embarrassment of being involved with this debacle any longer and will be stepping down next month. That is hardly enough, particularly considering how they demonized Scott Smith from the moment he spoke up. Obviously, the students who allegedly conducted the rapes need to be removed, convicted and put into the juvenile criminal justice system. But the accountability should not and can not end there. Whoever was involved in failing to report the incidents as required by state law needs to be in front of a judge. And the entire school board, along with Ziegler, needs to demonstrate that they still retain some shred of understanding of the awfulness that has taken place and resign in disgrace.