Loudoun County Officials Should Be Running Scared After Youngkin Unveils Jaw-Dropping Investigation
Newly minted Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, had an eventful first day in office on Saturday — and his first set of executive orders should have school board officials in Loudoun County very nervous.
According to InsideNoVa, among 11 executive orders signed by Virginia’s new governor was a pledge to investigate “wrongdoing” in the county. While the order wasn’t specific about exactly what the scope of the wrongdoing was, it came on a week where a male student who was allowed to use girls’ facilities in Loudoun County public schools was sentenced to be placed on the sex offender registry for life, in part for a sexual assault that took place inside a girls’ bathroom.
The assault was covered up by Loudoun County officials, who didn’t disclose it even after the school superintendent was directly asked about the assault at a board meeting. The student, who was moved to a different school, was convicted of another assault there.
For months, however, Loudoun County officials acted as if angry parents were the problem — and the media played right along. The Western Journal was among the outlets that continued holding school board officials accountable with our coverage. We’ll continue doing so, and you can help us equip readers with the truth by subscribing.
Youngkin announced the list of executive actions shortly after his swearing in: “Executive Order Number Four delivers on his Day One promise to investigate wrongdoing in Loudoun County,” a news release read.
In addition, Youngkin pledged to “restore excellence in education by ending the use of divisive concepts, including Critical Race Theory, in public education” and ended forced mask mandates in Virginia schools.
NEW – As Glenn Youngkin is sworn in as Virginia’s next governor, his office announces his signing of 9 Executive Orders.
Orders include “ending the use of divisive concepts, including Critical Race Theory”, ending school mask mandate, &”investigate wrongdoing in Loudoun County.” pic.twitter.com/zcVkB5rUpy
— Drew Wilder (@DrewWilderTV) January 15, 2022
After a week where a now-15-year-old former Loudoun County student was sentenced for two sexual assaults, however, the promise to investigate wrongdoing there arguably grabbed the most headlines.
Even before a June 22 school board meeting which saw two arrests, Loudoun County had become a hotbed for parental discontent at school board officials. While the causes behind it were multifarious, parents’ grievances crystalized around two issues: the integration of progressive concepts, including critical race theory, into the county’s curriculum and a proposed transgender facilities policy that stated, “Students should be allowed to use the facility that corresponds to their gender identity.”
At the heated meeting, comments were cut short, and two parents were arrested in the ensuing chaos, although the reason behind it was unclear. It wasn’t until a report from The Daily Wire in October that it emerged one of the individuals arrested, Scott Smith, was the parent of a girl allegedly sexually assaulted in May in the girls’ bathroom by a boy who was wearing a skirt.
Not only that, but then-school superintendent Scott Ziegler was directly asked about whether there had been assaults in any of Loudoun County’s “bathrooms or locker rooms.”
“To my knowledge, we don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms,” Ziegler said.
Local media discovered that Ziegler had informed the school board of the alleged assault the day it happened, however.
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
The suspect was moved to another school, where he was accused of committing another sexual assault in October. He was convicted of both, according to WJLA-TV, and sentenced to three years in a residential lock-up program, as well as a lifetime on the sex offender registry in Virginia.
Juvenile court Judge Pamela Brooks said during the sentencing that she’d never put a juvenile on the sex offender registry, but she felt it was necessary given the circumstances.
“Over the years this court has read many psychosexual reports, and when I read yours, frankly, it scared me. It scared me for you, it scared me for society,” she said, according to The Daily Wire.
Beyond that, the existence of an alleged third victim arose during sentencing, with one of the victims mentioning it during her impact statement and Judge Brooks mentioning it from the bench. No other details were available, and neither the teen nor their family have come forward.
The scandal surrounding the county’s handling of the sex offender — and of the transgender facilities policy in general — remained a controversy going into the gubernatorial election in November.
Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe drew much of his support from teachers’ unions and stated during the last debate, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
As if to keep the issue alive now that Youngkin is elected and in office, the Loudoun County School Board announced on Friday that it wouldn’t be releasing the results of its investigation of the assaults, citing confidentiality reasons and the risk of “retraumatizing” victims.
???#loudouncounty public schools is standing by its decision not to release the “independent” report on its mishandling of two sexual assaults.
All the more reason for an independent prosecutor to be appointed to prosecute @fightforschools removal efforts. pic.twitter.com/6HTKSGUUUZ
— Ian Prior (@iandprior) January 14, 2022
“First and foremost, the report cannot be released because the privacy of the families involved must be protected,” a media release from the school board read.
“The national interest in this investigation would preclude any chance of allowing the families to heal in private and to move forward with dignity. The Division and our Board believe we must do whatever we can to avoid retraumatizing the students and the families involved in the incidents. Furthermore, the Division is legally obligated to protect student confidentiality. This decision was also based on the advice of legal counsel, which determined that the report falls under the protections of the attorney-client privilege.”
Given the lies, the systemic failures and the appearance of a cover-up by Loudoun County Public Schools and school board officials, that won’t do.
Then again, Youngkin came a step closer to solving the problem just a day later, coming through on a promise to get to the bottom of the “wrongdoing” in the county. One presumes what that investigation finds won’t be so neatly swept under the rug.
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