One count dismissed for Virginia father arrested at school board meeting

(The Center Square) – An appeals court dismissed one conviction for the father of a Loudoun County Public School sexual assault victim after the father was arrested during an argument with school board members and a scuffle with police.

The father attended the school board meeting to express his frustrations about how the school handled the assault. Although he claimed the school did not contact the police immediately, the school fervently denied that accusation and said they contacted the police right away. The boy who committed the assault was ultimately convicted, but not until after he was transferred to another school where he committed another sexual assault, for which he was ultimately convicted as well.

District Court Judge Thomas Kelley Jr. convicted the father on one count of disorderly conduct and one count of obstruction of justice, both of which are misdemeanors. However, Circuit Court Judge James Plowman overruled the obstruction of justice count, claiming the lower court failed to properly fill out paperwork. The disorderly conduct conviction is still in place.

Fight For Schools, a Loudoun County-based parent group, has accused the school of initially covering up the sexual assault and lacking transparency. Superintendent Scott Zeigler informed the school board of the assault allegations in a private email, but less than a month later said during a public meeting he was unaware of any sexual assaults in school bathrooms or locker rooms. No one on the board corrected him.

During the hearing, the board had been discussing their proposed transgender policy, which allow a student to use the bathroom or locker room that aligns with his or her self-proclaimed gender identity, even if it does not match the student’s biological sex. The boy who committed the assault was wearing a skirt at the time.

Loudoun County Public Schools commissioned an independent review of how it handled the assault allegations, but has refused to release the report’s findings. Fight For Schools filed a lawsuit to gain access to the information, but the court denied the request, citing attorney-client privilege.

The Virginia Department of Education is currently conducting its own review of how the school system handled the assaults and whether Ziegler purposefully misled the public when he failed to disclose information about the assault.