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Loudoun County school board member steps down amid scrutiny from parents, community groups

In her resignation letter, Beth Barts said, "This was not an easy decision or a decision made in haste."

ASHBURN, Va. — As officials with Loudoun County Public Schools grapple with ongoing controversies including recent sexual assault cases, a school board member decided to step down.

Beth Barts only took office in 2020 to represent Leesburg but she's leaving her position embroiled in controversy.

In her resignation letter Friday afternoon, Barts said though it wasn't an easy decision, it was the right one for her and her family.

"While serving as the Leesburg representative on the Loudoun County School Board, I was afforded many deeply rewarding opportunities for which I am truly appreciative," she said in the statement. "I am grateful to have had a role in empowering students to achieve academic and personal success in supportive and most importantly inclusive school environments. I am especially proud to have participated in helping steer the Loudoun County School System through the uncharted waters of educating students throughout a global pandemic. Though not an easy task, I remained committed to doing what was best for all Loudoun County Public School students and staff. "

Barts was the subject of an effort by many parents and groups in Loudoun County, including Fight for Schools, who wanted her gone.

In a petition, parents accused her of incompetence, neglecting her duties and misuse of office. They say she crossed the line when she urged members of a private Facebook group to compile a list and expose information about people against critical race theory.

It's one of many hot topics that catapulted Loudoun County Public Schools into the national spotlight, which also included transgender student rights.

On Friday, Superintendent Scott Ziegler even had to clarify his response to one of Barts' questions in a June school board meeting.

He said he had no knowledge of assaults in bathrooms and locker rooms even though just a month earlier, a teenager was charged for sexually assaulting a student.

Ziegler assumed Barts was referring to incidents involving transgender students.

"I regret that my comments were misleading and I apologize for the distress there that caused families," he said. "I should have asked board member Barts clarifying questions to get to the root of her question rather than assuming what she meant and I will do better in the future."

She will step down effective Nov. 2, 2021. 

RELATED: LCPS superintendent promises policy changes on sexual assault investigations

RELATED: Loudoun County Public Schools amends professional conduct policy

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