Indignation keeps growing over the Loudoun County Public School system’s response to two sexual assaults that have happened in the last six months. Now, many are calling for resignations after discovering the superintendent and school board knew about the initial assault and did very little.
The police investigated, arrested the boy in July, slapped an ankle monitor on him and told him to go to a different school. But the assault and its details were not made public.
The boy began this school year at different school. Then on Oct. 6, he was arrested again for allegedly assaulting another girl at his new school.
This second assault brought the May 28 incident to public attention. Outrage ensued.
Two sexual assaults perpetrated by the same student naturally raises the question: What were the school board and superintendent doing to stop this?
The answer is, nothing. What makes this worse is, Superintendent Scott Ziegler knew what happened. It was recently discovered that he even sent an email informing the school board on the day of the first allegation, according to the Loudoun Times-Mirror.
ONLY ON WTOP: Loudoun County’s superintendent notified the school board the same day a female student was sexually assaulted at Stone Bridge High School, according to an email obtained by WTOP. https://t.co/Re4vkD7H60
— WTOP (@WTOP) October 22, 2021
“This afternoon a female student alleged that a male student sexually assaulted her in the restroom,” Ziegler wrote on May 28.
It doesn’t get much clearer than that. Still, the school board did nothing.
The family of the May 28 victim is now pursuing legal action against the Loudoun County Public School system.
While there is plenty of blame to go around, the root of the problem actually lies with the school’s policy over restroom use.
“All students are entitled to have access to restrooms and locker rooms that are sanitary, safe and adequate, so that they can comfortably and fully engage in their school programs and activities. Students should be allowed to use the facility that corresponds to their gender identity,” the policy says.
In the name of “safety” the LCPS allows students to use what restroom they want. Yet, it was in the restroom that a female student’s safety was compromised.
The May 28 victim’s family has been clear that they largely blame this policy for the assault their daughter suffered.
“The sexual assault on our daughter and the subsequent sexual assault by the same individual were both predictable and preventable,” a statement from the family read. “Subsequent to the sexual assault on our daughter, Loudoun County Public Schools formalized the policy regarding restroom use that was easily exploitable by a potential sexual assailant. Because of poor planning and misguided policies, Loudoun Schools failed to institute even minimal safeguards to protect students from sexual assaults.”
So, not only did the school board do nothing in reaction to the initial assault, but the policy they passed enabled it.
Yet, Ziegler continues to say that the problem lies in insufficient procedures.
He proposes that there be a change in how the school system and the sheriff’s department act together and communicate “to ensure school discipline and criminal investigations can happen simultaneously … This includes notification from the sheriff’s office to the superintendent and principal when students are charged with serious offenses,” WTOP News reported on Oct. 15.
Sure, the sheriff’s department probably shouldn’t have let the kid simply go back to school. The school should have actually disciplined and expelled the student. But that still would not have fixed the essence of the problem.
The problem is that the school is allowing students to use whatever restroom they want. So if a boy wants to rape a girl, the female restroom is an excellent place to do it.
Can’t go into the female restroom as a straight boy? No problem. Just say you are gender-fluid or in transition. Then the door is wide open — literally.
After the May 28 assault became public due to the Oct. 6 assault, the Loudoun Times-Mirror reported that local residents began calling for the resignations of Ziegler and other school board members.
Resignations are certainly in order. Ziegler and board members knowingly put students in danger by letting a sexual assailant in school. But the real problem is the policy.
Removing the superintendent and board members would be like only fixing the symptoms of a disease instead of treating the disease itself. If the cause is not fixed, then easily preventable situations of sexual assault and rape will keep happening.
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