Any school board member that failed to take action after learning of the first incident needs to tender their resignation now. And more parents need to wake up and demand accountability from their elected representatives.
A group of fed-up parents held a news conference today in front of the Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) administrative building. Their message was clear: Superintendent Scott Ziegler needs to go. Immediately.
The parents’ frustration with the school system was evident, as it has been for the past eighteen months. However, things took an alarming turn this week as news emerged that LCPS had ineptly handled a sexual assault allegation at a county high school this past May. The alleged perpetrator was transferred to a different county high school and is alleged to have committed another sexual assault last week at his new school.
In the wake of these revelations, parents, already angered at the school system’s handling of COVID-19 and attempts to introduce Critical Race Theory into the curriculum, were irate. Worse yet, one of their own — the father of the victim in the first case — had been arrested for trying to get answers from the school board. In a letter to the Biden White House, the National School Boards Association even suggested the father was a domestic terrorist.
Ian Prior, Executive Director of Fight for Schools, led today’s news conference. He carefully laid out the timeline of events — a timeline that indicates Superintendent Ziegler was aware of the first alleged incident and failed to take appropriate action to prevent the second alleged incident.
On May 28th, an incident occurred at Stone Bridge High School. It was described on social media at the time as “an angry dad at the administration office.” Turns out, it was an angry dad. He was there – and angry – because he was called by his wife after a boy allegedly sexually assaulted his daughter in a bathroom.
The police were called, and there was an investigation that led to charges being filed against the alleged assailant. Final adjudication has not yet occurred, but it expected soon.
The alleged perpetrator was given an electronic ankle monitor after his arrest in July. Fast-forwarding to the June 22nd school board meeting, where proposed policy 8040, which allowed boys to use girl’s bathrooms, was being debated and possibly voted on:
While most of the first twenty speakers were supportive of policy 8040, the rest of the two-hundred-fifty-plus people that signed up to speak were largely there to voice opposition to a variety of school board policies and actions, including policy 8040.
One speaker in that first twenty directed her comments to that audience and said she saw the hate dripping from the followers of Jesus and their children. She was booed. Chairwoman [Brenda] Sheridan scolded the audience, recessed the meeting, and when she returned, she gave the speaker back her time.
When former senator Dick Black addressed the school board, not the audience, in a fiery opposition to proposed policy 8040, the audience applauded. When Chairwoman Sheridan banged the gavel, they stopped. Nevertheless, they then voted to shut down comment due to “lack of decorum.”
The speakers remained in the boardroom. They sang the National Anthem. They gave the speeches they intended to give. Superintendent [Scott] Ziegler then declared an unlawful assembly, despite no apparent threat of public violence, as is required by law for a declaration of unlawful assembly under VA code 18.2-406.
This is where things took a turn for the worst:
One man was arrested for trespass for refusing to leave after the declaration of unlawful assembly. One man was arrested for disorderly conduct after getting in a scuffle with sheriff’s deputies. The video of that has been played on local and national news since that day. In that video, the man’s wife can be heard stating that her daughter was raped in a bathroom in a school. As her husband was being arrested.
The man is named Scott Smith. It is his daughter who was allegedly sexually assaulted in a bathroom in Stone Bridge on May 28th.
And Superintendent Scott Ziegler starts to get himself in trouble:
Later, during that same meeting, without an audience present, Representative [Beth] Barts asked Superintendent Ziegler if there had been a pattern of assaults in bathrooms at LCPS. Ziegler responded he was not aware of a record of any assault in bathrooms. Note that Ms. Barts did not ask if any sexual assaults had occurred in bathrooms. She asked if there was a pattern. Superintendent Ziegler volunteered an answer to a question that he was not asked.
Many of us here learned what happened at Stone Bridge, and to whom, in the days that followed. Mrs. Smith actually posted, on June 23rd , to Facebook that her daughter was the victim of a horrific crime at school. It appears this post was discussed a week later in a private Facebook group called “The Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County.” The same group that plotted against parents, and which two school board members, Barts and Sheridan, were still members of at the date of the discussion. In other Facebook groups, the alleged assault was discussed before June 22nd.
According to a statement from the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, the alleged assailant was arrested on July 8th. The investigation was, thus, concluded.
In a statement yesterday from LCPS, it said the sheriff’s office asked that they not interview witnesses until after the sheriff’s investigation was complete. Therefore, the LCPS was free to conduct a Title IX investigation beginning July 8th.
On August 10th, despite massive resistance from the community — based on bathroom safety, a lawsuit, and alleged sexual assault that happened in a bathroom on May 28th – the Loudoun County School Board voted 7-2 to pass policy 8040, which would allow biological boys to use girls’ bathrooms. Representatives [Jeff] Morse and [John] Beatty voted “no.”
The same boy that allegedly assaulted the Smiths’ daughter at Stone Bridge was enrolled at Broad Run High School this year. He was wearing an ankle bracelet. Last week, a second alleged sexual assault occurred at Broad Run High School. The commonwealth’s attorney confirmed it was the same suspect that committed the alleged sexual assault at Stone Bridge.
This is every parent’s worst nightmare. The people to whom they entrusted the safety of their children violated that trust through inaction and obfuscation. The dereliction of duty by both the superintendent and school board is stunning, but not shocking, to those of us who live in Loudoun County. Their buffoonery has escalated from laughable ineptitude to dangerous incompetence.
Scott Ziegler needs to be fired immediately. Any school board member who failed to take action after learning of the first incident needs to tender their resignation now. And more parents need to wake up and demand accountability from their elected representatives.
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