After months of lining up at school board meetings to criticize elected members, a vocal advocacy group has filed a petition in the Loudoun County Circuit Court for the removal of School Board Chair Brenda Sheridan, of the Sterling, Virginia, district.
In a news release, Ian Prior, executive director of Fight for Schools — the group organizing the recall effort — said they got 1,217 signatures from Sterling residents in 13 days. According to Virginia code, the petition must be signed by at least 10% of registered voters in the jurisdiction where the official was elected.
The filing includes allegations that Sheridan limited the First Amendment rights of attendees at board meetings by shutting down public comments and placing limits on who can speak.
It also accuses Sheridan of mishandling a recently disclosed sexual assault at Stone Bridge High School on May 28, which led to a student being transferred to Broad Run High School, where he was charged with assaulting another girl.
Prior’s invective continued during Tuesday’s school board meeting, in announcing the petition had been filed. “I said we’d see you in court,” Prior said. “We are now in court.”
In a statement, Sheridan said: “My election was a mandate from those who came to the polls — three times — to choose me as their representative. Tuesday’s filing is the result of a fraction of those citizens signing a petition, whether they voted or not.”
Sheridan said being a school board member “is not always easy or popular.”
She said she remains dedicated to students: “That dedication will continue long after my service on the school board ends, which I fully anticipate will be the conclusion of my elected term.”
Earlier this fall, Fight for Schools filed a recall petition against another board member, Beth Barts, of Leesburg, who resigned before the case went to trial. School officials say board members have received threats for months.
The group has also said it will seek the removal of other school board members who have supported social, equity and gender reforms within the schools.