Juli Briskman, a member of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, branded a group of concerned parents ‘alt-right’
A Loudoun County official has branded a group of parents who are concerned about the school district’s handling of sexual misconduct cases and its teaching of critical race theory ‘alt-right,’ despite the group having black and Jewish supporters.
Juli Briskman, a member of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, tweeted the claim on Thursday, after the parent organization Fight for Schools announced it had obtained enough signatures to challenge all of the remaining school board members who were part of a Facebook group that launched a campaign against parents who oppose the teaching of critical race theory.
In her tweet on Thursday, Briskman wrote: ‘[Thank you, Loudoun for All] for a factual and thorough debunking of the alt-right FFS petitions.
‘If they want to fight for schools, they should support teacher pay increases, more mental health resources and ending the school to prison pipeline.’
Merriam-Webster defines ‘alt-right’ as a ‘right-wing, primarily online political movement or grouping based in the US whose members reject mainstream conservative politics and espouse extremist beliefs and policies typically centered on ideas of white nationalism.’
Her tweet on Thursday came after parent group Fight for Schools revealed they received enough signatures to oust the school board chair and three board members
Joe Mobley, a black father of four who has supported Fight for Schools, said it was ‘absurd’ to be called ‘a white nationalist’
The claim has offended several members of the group, which has black and Jewish members.
‘As a Jewish American, I am completely offended,’ Elicia Brand, a Loudoun County mom who has volunteered with Fight for Schools for months told FOX News on Sunday. ‘I take that as a personal affront.’
‘I support [Fight for Schools Executive Director] Ian Prior and everything that he is doing for the schools and the parents in every way,’ she continued.
Brand said she has volunteered for Fight for Schools since it was founded several months ago, and started her own organization, Army of Parents, to support its efforts.
‘I know many people in the Fight for Schools organization and not one of them is alt-right, not one of them is far-right, not one of them is racist,’ Brand said.
‘She is putting political ideology and the political agenda before the needs of the citizens of Loudoun County,’ she said of Briskman, ‘and she owes every one of us an apology.’
Joe Mobley, a black father of four who has supported Fight for Schools efforts also said ‘it’s absurd’ to be called ‘alt-right.’
He argued that Briskman used her attack on Thursday to distract from the idea that ‘parents shouldn’t have a say in what goes on in the classroom because your kids belong to the state.’
‘Obviously, as a black dude, it’s weird to be called a white nationalist,’ Mobley told FOX. ‘Instead of calling us names, meet with us and have a chit-chat.’
Fight for Schools founder Ian Prior added: ‘Ms. Briskman’s false and defamatory statement is an attack on a diverse coalition of thousands of Loudoun County residents that are utilizing a legal process to remove school board members that have violated their own code of conduct.
‘The best thing Ms. Briskman could do, as an elected official, is publicly retract her statement and cease and desist from regularly attacking her constituents on social media.
‘But we aren’t holding our breath.’
Fight for Schools revealed at the Loudoun County school board meeting on Tuesday night they have received enough signatures to have the chair and three other board members removed. Pictured: Megan Jenkins speaking at the meeting
The group gained support in the aftermath of a sexual assault case involving a ‘boy in a skirt’ attacking a girl in the girls’ bathroom, and from opponents of critical race theory
The group has collected more than 2,000 signatures to remove the board chair Brenda Sheridan (pictured). She has said she will see it through
On Tuesday, Fight for Schools announced it had collected more than 2,000 signatures to remove the board chair Brenda Sheridan citing reasons including neglect of duty, misuse of office and incompetence in the performance of her duties.
The organization also compiled enough signatures to mount legal challenges to oust three other board members, Board Vice-Chair Atoosa Reaser, Ian Serotkin of the Blue Ridge District, and at-large member Denise Corbo.
In order to remove an elected official in Virginia, a petition must be signed by a number of people from the official’s jurisdiction equal to 10 percent of the votes cast in the previous election.
The petition was started earlier this year, FOX News reports, after reports emerged that a Facebook group called ‘Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County’ compiled a list of outspoken conservatives and opponents of critical race theory in the district in order to track, hack and ‘doxx’ them.
Critical race theory teaches that racism is a social construct that has been embedded in American legal systems and policies.
It has sparked a fierce nationwide debate in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests around the country over the last year, with opponents claiming it promotes racism by categorizing people into ‘oppressors’ and the ‘oppressed,’ and supporters arguing that it is vital to eliminate racism.
If the cases go to trial, a judge or a jury will rule whether or not to remove the board members and if successful, the board would have 45 days to appoint an interim replacement and 15 days to petition the court for a special election.
In an email response to the Loudoun Times, Sheridan vowed to ‘see this process through’ and said being a member of the school board is public service, and ‘is not always easy or popular’.
On June 22, Scott Smith, the father of the rape victim, was dragged out of a school board meeting with a bloodied mouth after listening to school officials deny that his daughter had been sexually assaulted in the bathroom after she reported it to officials
Superintendent Scott Ziegler claimed that day that he’d received ‘no report’ of a sexual assault in the school bathrooms. But on May 28, the day it happened, he sent this email to colleagues confirming that it had been reported, writing: ‘This afternoon, a female student alleged that a male student sexually assaulted her in the restroom’
From rape to sentencing: Timeline of teen boy in skirt
May 28: Teen, 15, wearing a skirt allegedly rapes female classmate in girl’s bathroom. She reports it to the principal. Superintendent Scott Ziegler sends an email to colleagues confirming that it had been reported
June 22: Scott Smith, the father of the rape victim, was dragged out of a school board meeting with a bloodied mouth and arrested after listening to school officials say no one had been sexually assaulted in the bathroom after his daughter had reported the rape
July 6: Detectives call the boy’s mother to report his imminent arrest. She drives him down to the station herself and he spends the next couple weeks at the juvenile detention center in nearby Leesburg
October 6: The 15-year-old changes schools and allegedly drags another a girl into a classroom and inappropriately touches her. Police are called and he is arrested the same day
October 25: Teen is found guilty for the May 28 sexual assault at Stone Bridge High School. The judge ‘substantiated’ charges of forcible sodomy and forcible fellatio, the juvenile equivalent of a conviction
October 26: Students stage a walkout of their classrooms in a show of ‘solidarity’ for the victim. Some stood in front of their school, chanting: ‘Loudoun County Protects Rapists!’
November 15: Skirt-wearing teen will be sentenced
The Virginia school district was thrust into the national spotlight amid allegations a 15-year-old boy wearing a skirt raped a female classmate in the girl’s bathroom at Stone Bridge High School on May 28.
One month later, Scott Smith, the father of the rape victim, was dragged out of a school board meeting on June 22 with a bloodied mouth after listening to school officials deny that a girl had been sexually assaulted in the bathroom after his daughter had reported the rape.
Schools Superintendent Scott Ziegler said at the time: ‘We don’t have any records of assaults occurring in our restrooms.’
But on the day of the incident, he sent an email to colleagues confirming that it had been reported, writing: ‘This afternoon, a female student alleged that a male student sexually assaulted her in the restroom.’
Soon, the issue exploded, with parents throughout the county protesting the school’s transgender policy allowing transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity, overtaking school board meetings and demanding that Ziegler resign.
Ziegler later apologized, FOX News reported, saying: ‘First, let me say to the families and students involved – my heart aches for you and I am sorry that we failed to provide the safe, welcoming and affirming environment that we aspire to provide.’
And on October 15, Ziegler said he ‘wrongly interpreted’ Smith’s question ‘about discipline incidents in bathrooms.’
‘I regret that my comments were misleading, and I apologize for the distress that error caused families,’ he said.
Still, the district has denied allegations of a cover-up with Wayne Byard, a spokesman for the district, telling FOX News in late October that the district reported the alleged assault on May 28 to the sheriff’s office ‘immediately,’ but because the incident was still under investigation, the report ‘could not be released to the general public’ at the time.
Another incident on October 6 at Broad Run High School, he noted, was also reported to the Sheriff’s Office immediately.
‘In the current politically-charged atmosphere, a lot of claims and demands have been made,’ Byard said in a statement, adding: ‘The focus of the superintendent and school board remains the education of Loudoun County’s 81,000 students.’
Meanwhile, the 15-year-old boy was found guilty of the assault on October 25, when a judge ‘substantiated’ charges of forcible sodomy and forcible fellatio, the juvenile equivalent of a conviction.
He was sent back to juvenile detention, pending a hearing November 15 on the second case which occurred at Broad Run High School in the same county on October 6, a month after the district transferred him there.
In that incident, he allegedly pulled a girl into a classroom and inappropriately touched her.