Loudoun Superintendent Fired After Grand Jury Report
Loudoun Superintendent Fired After Grand Jury Report
The rot began at the top in Loudon County Public Schools. After a grand jury took apart the entire school district for their failures to protect two students from a student predator in a new report, the school board finally pulled themselves together and fired the superintendent, Scott Ziegler.
If you recall this story, which was broken by The Daily Wire in October 2021, a male student who claimed to be transgender sexually assaulted a female student in a girls’ bathroom at Stone Bridge High School in the Loudoun County Public School system. When the student’s father, Scott Smith, protested at the handling of his daughter’s assault case, the school called police on him. When he protested about what had happened at a school board meeting, he was arrested. The student rapist (whose mother tried defending him later) was moved to a new school, where he assaulted ANOTHER girl in September of 2021. This news all got out before the November 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election, and helped Glenn Youngkin make a compelling final argument about education and safety in the final days of the campaign, which the left predictably screeched about.
Well, a grand jury was convened to look into what happened in Loudoun County on the orders of Governor Youngkin and Attorney General Jason Miyares this last April. The results from the grand jury have been released to the public, and were extremely damning.
In the fact-finding report, the nine-person Loudoun County panel disclosed for the first time that a teacher’s aide walked into the bathroom while the ninth-grade victim was being raped by her male classmate and saw two pairs of feet under a stall door, but did nothing. The 91-page report called out district officials for a host of lapses that continued long after the initial attack.”
“We believe that throughout this ordeal LCPS administrators were looking out for their own interests instead of the best interests of LCPS,” the report stated. “This invariably led to a stunning lack of openness, transparency, and accountability both to the public and the special grand jury.”
The report also found that the district concealed the nature of the attack even as the district was preparing to impose a controversial new transgender bathroom policy. After the rape, the student was transferred to another school where he was involved in multiple incidents of misbehavior against girls that were known to officials but, until now, unknown to the public, the report said. Even the rapist’s own grandmother told officials he was a sociopath, but little was done, it said. The rapist soon committed another sexual assault, this time in a classroom.”
The grand jury report was released to inform the public of its findings based on subpoenaed documents and testimony. Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares noted in a statement that his office had requested the grand jury and that it has not been disbanded, meaning it could bring criminal charges at a later date.”
The Loudoun County administration let a predator roam their schools, and didn’t stop him because they were too busy being “woke,” and then trying to cover up their own culpability.
The report reveals that in the days before the bathroom rape, a teacher’s assistant wrote to her department chair that the student “has come into class more than once with his arm around a girl’s neck. I have caught him sitting on other girls’ laps several times … if this kind of reckless behavior persists, I wouldn’t want to be held accountable if someone should get hurt.”
School officials seemed more interested in getting the teacher’s aide in trouble than the student. The department chair “questioned the true motivation of the author,” the report said. The department chair mentioned the email to an assistant principal, who “questioned whether the author of the email had followed proper protocol” — even though it had been only 14 days since school had opened for the year because of COVID and the student had been in trouble numerous times.”
And the second assault simply should have never occurred. Again, the school district administration must take the blame.
On September 9, 2021, just two weeks into the school year, the rapist grabbed the shoulder of a girl “really hard” in class, tried to take her computer, and asked if she posted nudes online.”
“The superintendent, deputy superintendent, and superintendent’s chief of staff all learned of this incident and knew it was the same individual who committed the sexual assault at SBHS,” as did the prosecutor’s office, the report said.”
“Less than a month later, on October 6, 2021, the individual snatched an unassuming female out of the hallway, abducted her into an empty classroom, nearly asphyxiated her, and sexually assaulted her,” the report said.”
The second victim’s actions after the sexual assault suggest that she may have perceived that the school’s principal was more interested in enforcing coronavirus rules than protecting children from rape. The victim told a friend, and the pair “saw the BRHS principal in a nearly empty hallway where he was working from a mobile standing desk. Instead of telling him what had just happened, they adjusted their masks above their noses and kept walking. They subsequently went to the main office where they reported the incident to the BRHS SRO,” the report said. The rapist was taken into custody that day.”
It is only because the second victim went to the school resource officer at Broad Run High School, instead of the principal, which finally got the rapist arrested.
And because The Daily wire’s Luke Rosiak was already investigating the first assault, he connected the dots to the second assault quickly.
The next day, LCPS’ chief of staff, Mark Smith, emailed school board members about the incident — but seemingly only because he believed they were about to learn about it from the sheriff. He let them know of a sexual assault at Broad Run, writing, “I have been advised the LCSO may be planning a press release today regarding this incident. We will keep you informed as additional information becomes available.”
Nothing in that email, or the sheriff’s press released, “indicate[d] the assailant was the same individual who committed the SBHS sexual assaults on May 28, 2021. On October 8, 2021, Luke Rosiak from the Daily Wire emailed the public information officer for LCPS” that he was preparing to report that the culprit was the same person, the report said.”
The director of communications, Joan Sahlgren, wrote to public information officer Wayde Byard: “I have worked w [division counsel] and will handle. No further action. Enjoy your day.” She wrote to the deputy superintendent and other top officials, “Team, TAKE NO ACTION. I have got this. Thanks.”
The school system never responded to The Daily Wire, and the grand jury wrote that “We do not have any evidence that she, or any other LCPS employee, informed anybody on the school board of the impending article. Three days later, on October 11, 2021, The Daily Wire published an article stating that the SBHS assailant and BRHS assailant was the same individual. Each school board member we asked stated they first learned about this connection from press reports, and not from any LCPS employee. Their reactions, irrespective of political ideology, were universally negative… One member asked ‘why are we left out’ and ‘why were we not made aware as soon as the second one happened?’” the report said.”
This leads us to the superintendent, Scott Ziegler, who denied that any bathroom assaults had ever taken place in the district and tried to claim that the only reason that the district had not taken more action against the student rapist was due to Title IX. The grand jury report found that Ziegler was lying, and should have known he was lying. It also found that the school district, having at first promised to cooperate, was more interested in covering their own asses than getting to the truth.
“We were met with obfuscation, deflection, and obvious legal strategies designed to frustrate the special grand jury’s work,” the report stated. “Though LCPS declared in an April 13 statement its ‘inten[t] to cooperate with the lawful requests of the special grand jury,’ we experienced a much different posture behind closed doors.”
LCPS tried to get all officials and school board members to use an attorney provided by it, and that attorney vigorously tried to block subpoenas. One teacher refused to use this attorney, saying he “tried to ‘shut [her] up’ because ‘this won’t look well for the schools,’” — but the attorney claimed to represent her anyway, the report said.”
Two school board members did not show up to their testimony, leading the court to say they would be arrested if they did not appear within two hours. They quickly arrived, with one of the board members explaining that she was acting on the advice of the lawyer.”
Ultimately, key emails were obtained by the grand jury only through subpoenas to school officials who refused to use the district’s lawyer.”
“Unlike federal law, no Virginia statute explicitly addresses witness tampering, and the Virginia obstruction of justice statute does not cover this fact pattern. For those reasons, we were unable to consider an indictment against the LCPS division counsel,” the grand jury wrote.”
Ultimately, the grand jury found that Ziegler was the one who had attempted to cover everything up, and the school board then attempted to cover for HIM. And so, the school board has officially decided to make Ziegler the scapegoat by firing him. But because the school board knows that they are all complicit in this, they let Ziegler down nice and easy with lots of money.
Following a two-hour closed session to discuss the special grand jury’s report on Loudoun County Public Schools administration’s handling of two sexual assaults by the same student, the School Board voted unanimously and without public discussion Tuesday to fire Superintendent Scott Ziegler immediately and without cause.”
Under the terms of his contract, since he was fired without cause, Ziegler will be paid his full $323,000 annual salary and compensation for the next year in monthly installments. On top of his salary, his compensation includes perks such as a $12,000 annual vehicle allowance, health insurance and retirement benefits. The School Board had approved a $28,000 raise for Ziegler in July.”
That’s beyond gross. Letting Ziegler keep his benefits when he allowed a sexual predator to continue his attacks? I hope the families, especially the second victim’s, sue the stuffing out of him and that golden parachute.
I’m sure that the Loudoun County School Board would like this to be the end of the story. Superintendent fired, rapist sentenced (not much of a sentence, but he will be on the sex offender registry for the rest of his life), grand jury report released. Except… that grand jury is still empaneled. Given what is in their report, there could be charges. So no, this story is NOT over yet.