Loudoun County dad pardoned by Gov. Youngkin outraged after school board censors public comment: 'Let us down'

A Virginia dad convicted then pardoned by Gov. Glenn Youngkin for protesting the Loudoun County School Board expressed outrage Thursday over the group’s latest bid to “shut” out parents.

Last week, the board voted along party lines to turn cameras off during the public comment portion of meetings, according to FOX5. When the new policy takes effect in April, it will only provide audio and closed captioning during that portion of the meeting.

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“We have nine new school board members this year, and every one of them campaigned on transparency and less division, and this is absolutely the opposite of what they all campaigned on,” Scott Smith told “America’s Newsroom.” “They’ve let us down. They haven’t done what they’ve said, and they’re just trying to shut us out.”

“They’re trying to shut moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas out of the public spotlight to be able to speak out against the radical policies,” he continued.

Smith’s daughter was sexually assaulted at Stone Bridge High School by a transgender student in 2021. He was later pardoned by Youngkin after being convicted of disorderly conduct stemming from an altercation during a school board meeting where he erupted over their handling of an investigation into his daughter’s attack.

“Mr. Smith did what any father would do, what any parent would do, which is stand up for their child,” Youngkin said. “This was [a] gross miscarriage of justice.”

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School board members who voted in favor of shutting the cameras off have defended their decision, while others have cited concerns stemming from transparency with the board’s efforts.

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Loudoun County Chair Malinda Mansfield doubled down on the decision by arguing there could be Federal Communications Commission (FCC) concerns since the board cannot control what members of the public say or wear, according to the Washington Examiner.

“I want our neighborhood schools to be excellent, and I want the division out of the news,” April Chandler, one school board member, said. “For that reason, I will not support any efforts to turn the cameras back on. Turning the cameras back on now only invites and undermines the work of the school board.”

But the new policy has infuriated some parents, including a “new wave” of parents who are concerned about the school board’s stance on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) policies, Smith argued.

“A new wave of parents have showed up… when they decided to turn off the cameras, it was because the Hindu and Muslim community, they showed up… I think it freaked out the school board to the point where… they cannot allow another viral moment like mine to go across the land and continue to wake up parents… to say no to this,” Smith said.

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Smith noted Policy 8040, which permits transgender students to use the restrooms of their choosing, goes against the beliefs of those Hindus and Muslims in the school district and “they’re very upset about it.”

“Policy 8040 is the policy that they were trying to pass three years ago when they covered up the rape of my daughter, and that’s the policy to let boys and girls go into whatever bathroom that they identify with,” he said.

The policy states: “Students should be allowed to use the facility that corresponds to their consistently asserted gender identity. While some transgender students will want that access, others may want alternatives that afford more privacy. Taking into account existing school facilities, administrators should take steps to designate gender-inclusive or single-user restrooms commensurate with the size of the school.”

Smith and his family are still embroiled in legal battles stemming from his daughter’s assault.

“We’re looking forward to our day and justice and finally being able to hold some people accountable,” Smith said. “But we’ve got a lot ahead of us. We’ve got a big fight ahead of us… We look forward to one day being able to put this behind us, but right now, we’re still in the middle of a battle of our life.”

Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.

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Bailee Hill is an associate editor with Fox News Digital. Story ideas can be sent to [email protected] 

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