Displaying 30+ Stories
Allow Ads

Loudoun County School Superintendent Fired After Grand Jury Report Blames District for Sexual Assaults


The Loudon County Public School Board has fired superintendent Scott Ziegler after a Virginia grand jury released a report criticizing the district for how it handled two sexual assaults committed by the same student.

The Northern Virginia school district came to the national spotlight after a father accused the school board of covering up his daughter's sexual assault. 

Scott Smith testified before the board that a biological boy wearing a skirt raped his daughter in the girl's bathroom, last May. 

After that incident, the boy was able to transfer to another school in the district where he then assaulted another girl. He was convicted in juvenile court of both assaults.

At the time, Smith claimed the district tried to cover up his daughter's assault to push a policy that supported transgender students using bathrooms of their choice. 

In a 91-page report released Monday, the grand jury found that the school district was "looking out for their own interests" instead of the best interests of the students.

The jury concluded there were several instances where senior division administrators could have been transparent and avoided the second assault. 
They also cited an instance when Ziegler lied during a school board meeting denying he knew of the incident in school restrooms.

According to local outlets, Ziegler denied at a June 2021 school board meeting having any knowledge of the first assault, which had occurred in May of that year. 

He stated that "the predator transgender student or person simply does not exist," and, to his knowledge, "we don't have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms."

But on May 28, the day the assault occurred, Ziegler alerted school board members in an email that an assault had been reported.

The second assault took place in October 2021 and the report says LCPS failed several times to "step in" to prevent it from happening. 

"A remarkable lack of curiosity and adherence to operating in silos by LCPS administrators is ultimately to blame for the October 6 incident," it reads. 

"While we strongly believe LCPS bears the brunt of the blame for the October 6 incident and the transfer of the student from [Stone Bridge High School] to [Broad Run High School], a breakdown of communication between and amongst multiple parties—including the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office, the Court Services Unit, and the Loudoun County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office—led to the tragic events that occurred," it continued.

The grand jury found that there was no coordinated cover-up between administrators and the Loudoun County School Board. It found that school board members were "kept in the dark" about the incidents. But it also notes that board members attempted to "thwart, discredit and push back" against the investigation.

The investigation is complete and no indictments have been issued.

LCPS and the Loudoun County school board leadership released the following statement Monday:

"In spite of the recent allegations leveled against Loudoun County School Board (LCSB) members and Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) employees over the past several months, we are pleased that the Special Grand Jury's extensive investigation found no evidence of criminal conduct on the part of anyone within LCPS, and not a single indictment was filed as a result of this lengthy process."

Parents are criticizing the district's response calling it tone-deaf. 

"They use the word that 'we are pleased'," Lauren Shernoff, an LCPS employee and mother, told ABC News. "I think when we're dealing with sexual assault at any level, especially with children, using the word 'pleased' is not the word that we should be using. It sort of reads with a tone of 'I'm glad it's over.'" 

She added, "You know who it's not over for? It's not over for those two girls and their families. And it's not over for us. We have to send our children into those buildings every day with a lack of trust. And so that really, really concerns me. And I think that there should be repercussions. I think there should be resignations, and I think that there should be action taken against the people that made these decisions."

Meanwhile, LCPS will be required to pay Ziegler his full $323,000 annual salary and compensation for the next year in monthly installments because he was terminated without cause. 

 ***Please sign up for CBN Newsletters and download the CBN News app to ensure you keep receiving the latest news from a distinctly Christian perspective.***

Did you know?

God is everywhere—even in the news. That’s why we view every news story through the lens of faith. We are committed to delivering quality independent Christian journalism you can trust. But it takes a lot of hard work, time, and money to do what we do. Help us continue to be a voice for truth in the media by supporting CBN News for as little as $1.