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GOP governor pardons dad arrested at school board meeting

Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Va., is interviewed by media during a media availability alongside the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD 24), March 10, 2022. (DVIDS)
September 12, 2023

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin granted an “absolute pardon” to Scott Smith, a father who was arrested at a Loudoun County School Board meeting in June 2021 after the school’s superintendent lied about the rape of Smith’s daughter by a boy wearing a skirt.

The pardon asserts that Smith was wrongfully convicted after a superintendent misled the public about a sexual assault involving Smith’s daughter. The incident has been a rallying point for parents who argue that educational institutions are prioritizing ideological agendas over student safety and academic standards.

According to the pardon, Smith was arrested following a “verbal confrontation” at the school board meeting after a community member threatened to damage his reputation.

Smith was quickly convicted on charges of “Obstruction of Justice and Disorderly Conduct,” even as an appeals court later questioned “the integrity of the prosecution” and disqualified the prosecutor.

“WHEREAS Scott Thomas Smith has been publicly and falsely accused of ‘domestic terrorism’ and ‘hate crimes’ for attempting to advocate for his daughter, a victim of sexual assault… I have decided it is just and appropriate to grant this ABSOLUTE PARDON that reflects Scott Thomas Smith’s factual innocence,” Youngkin’s pardon states.

Smith had a strong response to the governor’s pardon. “I’m thankful that the Youngkin administration gave me an off-ramp to these charges that never should have happened,” he told The Daily Wire. “That’s what should scare every American–is that I had to take this because I could not trust our justice system.”

Youngkin, who won his seat partly due to his promise to be a voice for concerned parents, continues to focus on parental rights in education, according to The Daily Wire. His recent actions align with a broader movement advocating for increased transparency and parental involvement in the American educational system.

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Meanwhile, the legal labyrinth that ensnared Smith has had a chilling effect on parent participation in school board meetings. Smith noted in his comments to The Daily Wire that far fewer parents have turned out to school board meetings and spoken out since his arrest, saying that the prosecutor wanted to “make an example out of me to scare people from speaking out. And quite frankly, it worked.”

The pardon comes amid ongoing scrutiny of the Loudoun County Public Schools system, where a spokesman was acquitted of perjury charges, even as the individual convicted for sexually assaulting Smith’s daughter will not be placed on the sex offenders registry due to a prosecutorial mistake.

Youngkin plans to continue to engage with the community on these issues, hosting a “Parents Matter” conversation in Loudoun at the Cornerstone Chapel this week. According to The Daily Wire, the church was previously targeted by a group of activists known as the Loudoun Love Warriors, highlighting the ongoing divisions over education policy and parental rights.

The church’s pastor explained that it is “ironic that those who espouse ‘tolerance’ the most are actually some of the most intolerant people toward those of us with different views and values.”

This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.