Virginia’s Republican governor, Glenn Youngkin, pardoned a Loudoun County father on Friday for his arrest at a school board meeting in 2021. The man was there to demand answers about the sexual abuse of his daughter on school grounds.
According to the New York Times, Scott Smith was arrested and charged with obstruction of justice and disorderly conduct for his behaviour during the meeting held after his daughter, then 15 years old, was attacked in the school toilet in Ashburn, Virginia. In 2021, Smith was found guilty on both counts. According to HEADLINESFOREVER partner station WJLA, Smith had his conviction for resisting arrest overturned and received a suspended sentence of 10 days in jail.
Scott Smith is a loving father who has been unfairly accused for looking out for his daughter. According to Youngkin’s statement announcing the pardon, Scott’s dedication to his child despite the enormous difficulties is representative of the parental empowerment movement that began in Virginia.
I am steadfast in my commitment to enhancing parental agency in Virginia. Bureaucracy, school districts, or the state should never compromise a parent’s constitutionally protected right to participate in their child’s education, rearing, and care. To help Scott Smith and his family finally put this injustice in the past, I am granting him a pardon, he said.
According to the Times, deputies eventually apprehended a male student in connection with the sexual assault of Smith’s daughter. The publication stated that he was found guilty of the charge and later pled no contest to a charge of sexual assault at a different institution.
The national political discourse around parental rights and school choice was fueled in part by Smith’s arrest at the school board meeting. The sexual assault case was emphasised by conservative media in an effort to advance anti-transgender talking points.
During his candidature for governor in 2021, Youngkin made promises such “We’re going to embrace our parents, not ignore them.”
According to an interview Smith gave to WJLA after receiving his pardon, he believes the public is now “pretty clear and convincing” that what happened to him that day was wrong and should never have occurred. I’m relieved that this is over with.
As a result, he now believes that “in today’s America, getting a fair and free trial is next to impossible.”