ASHBURN, Va. (7News) — Scott Smith of Leesburg, Virginia was arrested for disorderly conduct and obstruction of justice in June at a School Board meeting at Loudon County Public Schools. In May, his 9th-grade daughter was sexually assaulted inside a bathroom by another student at Stone Bridge High School and the attacker has been found guilty of two counts of forcible sodomy.
“Why did you go to that school board meeting where you were arrested?” ask 7News I-Team Investigator Scott Taylor.
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“I went to that school board meeting because my daughter had been sexually assaulted a few weeks prior," says Scott Smith. "I never been to a school board meeting before I only seen it on TV. I wanted to see what all the nonsense was about that I had seen and reading about. I wanted to see it in real life because my family has unfortunately been pulled into this nightmare."
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Some say Smith became the poster boy for the National School Boards Association based in Alexandria, Virginia. It cited Smith’s arrest and 29 other articles in a September 29th letter to President Biden.
The NSBA said there are more than 90,000 school board members and 14,000 local public school districts and some are under an immediate threat. These acts of malice, violence, and threats could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.
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No one from the NSBA ever reached out to Smith.
In Loudoun County, the i-team has learned many school board members have received recent death threats.
“We have had a number of emails, phone messages, and Facebook and other social media posts where people have threatened our lives,” adds Atoosa Reaser, the School Board Vice-Chair from the Algonkian District with the Loudoun County Public Schools.
The NSBA asked the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, Homeland Security, and the Secret Service to investigate.
US Attorney Merrick Garland agreed to investigate, and in a memo said his office is committed to using its authority to discourage these threats, identify them, and prosecute them.
He recently testified about his decision in front of Congress.
“Attorney General, do you believe a father attending a meeting, exercising his first amendment rights and yes, getting angry, about whatever lies are being told about his daughter being raped in the school he sent her to be educated in, that this is domestic terrorism?” asks U.S. Congressman Chip Roy of Texas, U.S. House of Representatives, District 12 (R).
“No, I do not think that parents getting angry at school boards for whatever reason, constitutes domestic terrorism," said Garland. "It's not even a close question."
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The I-Team took a closer look at the 30 articles cited by the NSBA.
Twenty-six out of the 30 news stories involve recent school board meetings or school officials. Three articles list arrests, only two at school board meetings. Others mention verbal disruptions, threatening letters, an alleged attack of a teacher and a parent using a Nazi salute at a board meeting.
On Wednesday, Moms For America protested in front of the NSBA headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia and demanded change at the top of NSBA.
“I do not think the supportive documents support the idea that parents are terrorists. I can tell you the exact opposite is happening when school board members are silencing us, kicking us out, and telling us we can’t be heard,” says Kimberly Fletcher, President of Moms for America.
The Pennsylvania School Board Association is one of three state school board associations that just quit the NSBA. The final straw was the letter to the President and the PSBA told its members this misguided approach has made our work and that of many school boards more difficult.
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Loudoun County Public Schools Board Member Atoosa Reaser says she feels safe.
“We have an excellent security team here at our school. Our head of security is a trained professional. I trust him implicitly,” says Reaser.
Scott Smith says he’s no domestic terrorist.
“It’s one quite scary that our federal government has been weaponized against United States parents. The government is supposed to protect us and not vilify us,” says Scott Smith.
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Over the past two weeks, the I-Team has tried multiple times to speak on camera to anyone at the National School Boards Association including stopping by its headquarters and leaving this message with the front desk.
“Great, so how do I get a hold of your media person or your CEO or your President because we have been emailing and calling and we haven’t gotten any emails or calls back from more than a week?” says i-Team Reporter Scott Taylor.
So far, 7News hasn’t received any response to our on-camera interview request but, after the I-Team reached out to the NSBA, they issued an apology.
In part, the NSBA said “We regret and apologize for the letter. There was no justification for some of the language in the letter. “
7News asked the NSBA for an on-camera interview after the apology so far, no response again.