(The Center Square) – After a special grand jury released a report on how the Loudoun County School Board handled two sexual assaults in their schools, the board announced it will reflect on the findings in its next board meeting.
The grand jury did not discover any criminal conduct on the part of the board or school employees and there were no indictments. However, the grand jury did say that the board bears the brunt of the blame for the second sexual assault and that the entire process lacked openness, transparency and accountability.
School Board Chair Jeff Morse and School Board Vice Chair Ian Serotkin released a statement that said they were pleased the grand jury did not find evidence of criminal activity, but that it will take its recommendations seriously.
“This broad use of the special grand jury investigative process did, however, yield a Report that contains several criticisms of LCPS employees and processes within the Division that are quite serious,” the statement read. “We are placing this on our next Board agenda for immediate discussion to reflect on these recommendations and take action as determined by the full Board.”
Attorney General Jason Miyares convened a special grand jury to investigate the board after a boy who was wearing a skirt sexually assaulted a girl in a female bathroom, then sexually assaulted another student after bring transferred to a different school. The boy was convicted in both cases.
Even though Superintendent Scott Ziegler informed the board members of the first assault in the bathroom, he later said during a public hearing that he was not aware of any sexual assaults occurring in school bathrooms. No member of the board corrected him. The grand jury wrote in the report it believes this was an intentional lie.
Ziegler, who is still serving a the superintendent, made his comments when the school board was considering whether to adopt a policy that would allow students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity, even if it did not match their biological sex.
The grand jury wrote in the report that it believes school administrators were looking out for their own interests, rather than the interests of the school system. Even though the grand jury did not find evidence of a coordinated cover up, it did say that Loudoun County Public Schools and most of the board did not cooperate with the grand jury and frequently tried to obstruct its investigation.
“This special grand jury was the epitome of professionalism,” the attorney general said in a statement. “In the face of intense public speculation, the members were incredibly engaged, worked tirelessly, and spent countless days away from their families and jobs to conduct a thorough investigation into Loudoun County Public Schools. I encourage everyone to read their report, and look forward to the positive change in LCPS resulting from their work.”
The report provided the school system with several recommendations. This includes better communication, improving its safety, changing its transfer process, being more transparent with the public and training teachers better.