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Loudoun County School-Board Member Resigns amid Backlash over Alleged Transgender Bathroom Assault

Shelley Slebrch and other angry parents and community members protest after a Loudoun County School Board meeting was halted by the school board because the crowd refused to quiet down, in Ashburn, Va., June 22, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

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.

However, the resignation came days after county resident Scott Smith alleged that a gender fluid boy wearing a skirt sexually assaulted his daughter in a school bathroom on May 28, in an interview with the Daily Wire.

The school board voted in August to allow transgender students to use school bathrooms matching their gender identity. Smith claimed that he had attempted to bring up the assault on his daughter at a school-board meeting on June 22, but he was arrested by police before he could speak.

At that same meeting, school superintendent Scott Ziegler said: “the predator transgender student or person simply does not exist,” adding that “we don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms.”

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office attempted to clarify the reports, but said it was “limited as to what information can be released” because the case is ongoing.

“There has been misinformation circulating regarding an investigation into a reported sexual assault that occurred on May 28, 2021, at Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn, VA,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.

“On May 28, 2021, an LCSO School Resource Officer was notified by Stone Bridge High School staff of a possible sexual assault,” the Sheriff’s Office stated. “A thorough investigation and evidentiary analysis was conducted over the course of several weeks,” leading to the July 8 arrest of a 14-year-old suspect.

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