Commonwealth’s Attorney Refuses to Advance Tholen Recall Case

“The Fix Was In”

The Open FCPS Coalition released the following statement Friday afternoon:

On Friday, August 20, 2021 Judge Richard Gardiner deemed the petition legally sufficient and rejected Elaine Tholen’s motion to quash the over 5,000 signatures submitted by Fairfax County parents requesting that she be recalled for incompetence and negligence.

The next step under Virginia statute should be that Elaine Tholen appears in court to defend herself. However, Democrat commonwealth’s attorney from Albemarle County, James Hingely, who was selected by Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano as a replacement due to Descano’s conflicts, refused to pursue the case and instead put politics and ideology ahead of our children.

“Parents proved today that we can mount a massive grassroots effort to gather thousands of signatures to recall a school board member. We are pleased to have won in court, but unfortunately it appears the fix was in when Mr. Descano handpicked his replacement from Albemarle County, James Hingely,” said Dee O’Neal, Open FCPS Coalition founder.

With other recall efforts in process around Virginia, parents should be encouraged that the petition language that signatures were gathered for was legally sufficient.

“We must continue to fight for our students and children, because the school board has not done so over the past 18 months. It is a shame that the voices of thousands of parents have been silenced by a commonwealth’s attorney who, just like the school board, is more interested in politics than the wellbeing of our kids. Hingely chose special interests over parents and children who deserved representation,” continued O’Neal.

Open FCPS Coalition is a bipartisan, grassroots, volunteer group of concerned parents and citizens from Fairfax County. The group was formed in late 2020, and its aim is to hold members of the Fairfax County School Board accountable and to keep politics out of our schools. The coalition gathered signatures from other concerned citizens in the Dranesville District of Fairfax County, which includes Great Falls, McLean, Herndon, and portions of Falls Church and Vienna. Over 5,000 residents signed the petition, a major milestone considering the small size of the area.

To learn more, visit and/or follow them on Twitter (@FCPSOpen). 

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