Reported associates of Virginia’s Loudon County School School Board and Loudon County officials are under fire for reportedly being part of a Facebook group whose members allegedly made a list to target residents and parents who spoke at board meetings, according to local station WJLA 7News.
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is investigating whether members of the group called “Loudon Love Warriors” made threats against residents. Members of Congress have called on the school board chair to investigate if any school board members were involved in the threats.
WJLA reported Thursday that an unnamed whistleblower in the group leaked a list allegedly targeting over 100 people who have been vocal on education issues in the county, including elected officials and political candidates including Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
“I truly am astounded that the suggestion that there could be an organized effort in order to truly tear people down and hurt them; done by people who seemed to have ties to elected officials, at least reported as so,” Youngkin told the station.
“It’s a truly, truly shocking revelation if it’s all true,” Youngkin continued. “And I know we’re going to get to the bottom of it and hold people accountable as appropriate.”
U.S. Reps. Chip Roy, R-Texas, and Bob Good, R-Virginia, wrote Thursday to Ian Serotkin, chair of the Loudon County School Board, asking the board to condemn the attacks and launch an investigation into whether any board members or county officials played a role.
The congressman said in the letter to Serotkin that they were concerned about reports “that staff and associates of Loudoun County School Board members and County officials orchestrated a campaign of smear attacks, harassment, and intimidation against local parents.”
The “Loudoun Love Warriors” group includes campaign volunteers, supporters, and staff for several Loudoun County elected officials. There’s no indication that board members, county officials or their staff played a role in the threats. WJLA reported that the group includes people who are associated with county-wide officeholders or school board members.
The station reported earlier in the week that a staffer for the Loudon County Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj allegedly posted a desire to “ruin” the livelihood of a Leesburg, Virginia resident named Mark Winn after he spoke about his beliefs concerning the morality of LGBTQ+ movement at a December 2022 board meeting.
Other alleged messages from the group included: “Lives needs to be ruined beyond repair;” “Im soooo ready to show up with guns lol;” “His life needs to be PERMANENTLY disassembled” and “If he had said that s*** about Black kids or autistic kids I would shoot him.”
A group member, Heather Gottlieb, told the news station that she emailed the employer of an outspoken parent. WJLA reported that group members pressured Scott Mineo’s employer, and he was let go. The station also reported that he claims he was referred to a number of federal agencies.
“They went after my job,” Mineo told WJLA. “That happened in early February. They referred me to the FBI, [Internal Revenue Service] and [Department of Homeland Security] all because they don’t like my opinion.”
Serotkin, who is the chair of the school board, responded that he and his colleagues get death threats frequently and that he strongly condemns them.
“As a School Board member, I and my colleagues have been the subject of countless death threats and other violent acts,” Serotkin told WJLA. “Any violent language or threats used anywhere in any capacity is abhorrent and is against the principles of our democracy. I do not condone any such behavior or anyone I associate with making or tolerating such threats.”
Youngkin said the Department of Justice’s position on parental protests was the predicate for the group’s alleged messages.
“This is the kind of standard that Attorney General [Merrick] Garland has set when he allows parents to be called terrorists, simply for standing up for their children,” Youngkin told WJLA. “I’m just stunned of this revelation.”
In 2021, the Department of Justice issued a memo to crack down on intimidation and threats of school personnel after it was sent a letter from the National School Boards Association which called malice, violence and threats against public school officials “domestic terrorism.”