The father of a Virginia student who was sexually assaulted in her high school bathroom has been pardoned after his arrest two years ago. He had protested during a school board meeting, which represented an important moment in a conservative push to increase parental engagement in public education.
The Associated Press reported that Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that he had pardoned father Scott Smith of his disorderly conduct conviction that stemmed from an incident which took place in June 2021.
The issue featured heavily during the gubernatorial campaign that year for Youngkin, who made parental involvement in public education a cornerstone of his campaign. The announcement was made on Fox News Sunday.
Youngkin said during a press release on Sunday that “Scott Smith is a dedicated parent who’s faced unwarranted charges in his pursuit to protect his daughter.”
He went on to say that “Scott’s commitment to his child despite the immense obstacles is emblematic of the parental empowerment movement that started in Virginia.”
Smith allegedly threatened to kick the teeth out of deputies who forced him away from a Loudoun County School Board meeting discussing state-mandated protections for transgender students.
The local news outlet claimed Smith had been loud, clenched his fist, and cussed at a woman while demanding answers about the handling of the sexual assault of his daughter.
As a result, Youngkin vowed to pursue legal action against the school board. He also noted that he would continue battling “for parents and their children,” according to the report.
“What happened to me cannot ever happen to another American again,” Smith said during an interview.
The teenager who was accused of assaulting Smith’s daughter was later found guilty of forcibly touching another classmate at a nearby school where the student was allowed to attend while awaiting trial in juvenile court.
Youngkin’s administration has since taken action, rolling back certain protections for transgender students. The report noted that model policies that were posted last fall by the Virginia Department of Education said that students are to use the restroom which reflects their biological sex.
The school district’s board fired its superintendent after a special grand jury accused him of lying about the first sexual assault. The grand jury’s report claimed the school system had mishandled the teenage perpetrator and said authorities ignored several warning signs that could have prevented the second assault.
While the grand jury did find a “stunning lack of openness, transparency and accountability,” they did not conclude there had been a coordinated cover-up in the case.
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