The Loudoun County Public School (LCPS) system dug themselves a big hole, and now they are desperately trying to claw their way out of it.
First, there was the horrible story of an alleged cover-up of two alleged, sexual assaults and their very bad reaction to the father of one of the victims, Scott Smith, trying to voice his concern about his daughter being sexually assaulted in the girls bathroom by the skirt-wearing boy allegedly involved in both of those assaults. On top of all that, there was the story earlier today that LCPS was allegedly also not reporting sexual assaults properly, as required by state law, thus obscuring how many assaults there might have been over a period of at least for the past few years
But it’s a little too late to try to spin all the allegations of what LCPS did wrong at this point.
That didn’t stop the LCPS superintendent from trying today. Scott Ziegler apologized for not telling the truth in June, when he claimed that the district had no record of any assaults taking place in the bathroom. That was his line, when people were expressing concerns about the school’s policy in regard to self-identified transgender students. But today, he claims that he misunderstood the question, when he was asked about his denial in June that there had been any assaults in the restrooms.
“I wrongly interpreted as incidents involving transgender and gender-fluid students. I did this because I was viewing the question in light of the general questions and debate around policy 8040 that was occurring at the time,” Ziegler said in a statement.
He regrets that his comments were “misleading” and “I apologize for the distress that error caused families. I should have asked Board Member Barts clarifying questions to get to the root of her question, rather than assuming what she meant. I will do better in the future.”
Yeah, no, that’s not going to fly now. That was June, it’s now October and you’re claiming this excuse now? You’re just saying what you think you need to say to get out of the sudden crisis and the spotlight you have dragged the school system into. In June, Ziegler said, “To my knowledge, we don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms.”
Here’s the clip of him saying it.
— Elicia Brand (@EliciaBrand) October 12, 2021
Hard to argue away that declarative lie. But, that didn’t stop him from trying to spin.
Ziegler tried the “I’m going to apologize” trick and maybe it will all go away.
“To the extent we are legally permitted to do so, we will begin disciplinary action at the time of the incident, rather than suspending that action until the end of the criminal or Title IX investigation.”
— 7News DC (@7NewsDC) October 15, 2021
You got that right, you failed in a major way a “safe” environment. But notice something else he also appears to be saying here that’s troubling. “To the extent we are legally permitted to do so, we will begin disciplinary action at the time of the incident, rather than suspending that action until the end of the criminal or Title IX investigation,” Ziegler says.
So he’s saying they didn’t take disciplinary action at the time of the incident, even so far as to keep other people safe, until they had an ultimate criminal or Title IX decision? Yikes. Is that why there was another incident from the same student who assaulted?
“This has been a very difficult time for our community. We are committed to finding ways to improve our processes to ensure that Loudoun County schools are safe for all of our students.”
— @LCPSOfficial superintendent Dr. Scott Ziegler
— 7News DC (@7NewsDC) October 15, 2021
Ziegler talks about their legal obligation to keep student confidentiality. But that doesn’t mean that you lie to the public about whether or not incidents have occurred. Your proper response is “We cannot comment on this at this time.” Moreover, if he cared so much about legal responsibilities, why was it that the school allegedly wasn’t reporting alleged sexual assaults that we know of, now, publicly?
As we reported earlier today, they are required by law to make such reports. Yet, their records didn’t reflect the alleged rape of Scott Smith’s daughter in the bathroom in May of this year, the last school year. The records also didn’t reflect another incident of an alleged sexual assault by football players on a younger player in 2018, an incident that was widely reported in the news. It makes one ask: just how many incidents were not reported?
Ziegler is doubtless trying to cover himself as much as he can now, since the Virginia Department of Education said they would be looking into all this. Legally, if he violated the reporting requirements, he can be on the hook for a lot.
The law says that “A division superintendent who knowingly fails to comply or secure compliance with the reporting requirements of this subsection shall be subject to the sanctions authorized in § 22.1-65. A principal who knowingly fails to comply or secure compliance with the reporting requirements of this section shall be subject to sanctions prescribed by the local school board, which may include, but need not be limited to, demotion or dismissal.”
In addition to Ziegler’s statement, left-wing school board member Beth Barts, who has frequently been involved with conflicts with parents over Critical Race Theory and the transgender policy, announced that she would be resigning from her position. It’s not clear if she resigned because of this latest controversy.
Parents who had fought her actions and were trying to recall her, took heart that this might signal a positive change.
“This could not have been an easy decision for Ms. Barts. We have made known our displeasure with her actions as a school board member over the past several months, but today she has done the right thing. Her former colleagues should take notice,” Ian Prior, the executive director of Virginia parent group Fight for Schools, said in a statement Friday.
“The community should know, however, that the problems at Loudoun County Public Schools and on the school board go well beyond one school board member,” Prior added. “We will continue to shine a light on Loudoun County Public Schools and will keep fighting until we have a school board of common sense, non-partisan members and a superintendent who is accountable to parents and tells the truth.”