Concerned parents from Loudoun County, Va. demanded that the Loudoun County School Board Superintendent Scott Ziegler and the rest of the school board resign at a school board meeting on Tuesday after a damning private email from Ziegler was leaked last week.
After a Loudoun County judge ruled this week that a male high school student, dressed as a girl, sexually assaulted a female student in the girls’ bathroom at Stone Bridge High School in May, Ziegler emailed the school board shortly after the sexual assault took place and informed them that law enforcement was investigating the incident.
However, Ziegler publicly told parents one month later that he and the school board had no record of any sexual assault taking place in the girls’ restroom.
Scott Smith, the father of the victim, attempted to describe his ninth grade daughter’s sexual assault to the school board during a local school board meeting on July 22. As he spoke to the board, he was heckled by an activist who threatened to ruin him and his family and told him that the assault never happened to his daughter. When Smith yelled back at the activist, he was then tackled and beaten by police before being dragged out and arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
After the assault took place at Stone Bridge High School, the suspect, who is reportedly transgender, was moved to a different public school where he sexually assaulted another female student in the girls’ restroom. The 15-year-old believed to have committed both assaults is currently being held at the Loudoun County Juvenile Detention Center.
Loudoun County parents were fuming after discovering that the school board covered up the sexual assaults and spoke out against the school board at a local meeting on Tuesday. Parents claimed that Ziegler and the school board covered up the assault in order to protect the transgender student.
“You were clearly aware of sexual assault at Stonebridge,” said one parent.
“I don’t trust you to ensure the education or safety of my daughter,” said another.
Earlier that day, hundreds of Loudoun County students staged a walkout from school to protest the school board’s coverup.
“You just had hundreds of Loudoun County students walk out in protest because they feel unsafe in schools,” said Erin Smith, a district mom. “Did any of you even respond to this email on May 28 from Dr. Ziegler? Was that email alarming to anyone?”
Smith also called out School Board Chair Brenda Sheridan who scoffed that parents were only complaining to impact the state’s upcoming gubernatorial election in favor of Republican Glenn Youngkin.
“We’re not here to impact elections, Brenda,” said Smith. “Get comfy because we are not going away.”
A Loudoun County father with children in the school system told the school board to resign following several reported coverups of multiple sexual assaults throughout schools in the county.
“There’s word now of yet another high school predator thats been transferred from Dominion to Woodgrove after he attacked a teacher,” said the parent.
He continued, “There’s also word of a Freedom High School teacher who’s been transferred to Bellmont Ridge three weeks ago after sexual impropriety with a student. It’s been learned five years ago, there was yet another sexual assault on a freshman girl at Tuscarorora high school, which some on this board covered up.
He then urged the school board to “end the mockery” that they brought to the county by stepping down.
One Loudoun County school board member, Beth Barts, resigned earlier this month amid the controversy.
Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin has called for consequences for the school board and has pledged to investigate them if elected governor.
Supporters of Democrat gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe attended the meeting to counter-protest the parents and advocate for more inclusion and diversity programs. McAuliffe received widespread criticism after saying that parents should not play a role in their children’s education.