On December 6, Loudoun County School Board members unanimously voted to fire superintendent Scott Ziegler, the subject of a special grand jury report that found he lied about a rape that was committed by a transgender student. Ziegler was fired without cause after the school board reviewed a 91-page report issued on December 5 by the special grand jury, which was comprised of randomly selected residents of the county. The report found that Ziegler displayed a "stunning lack of openness" regarding the rape.
The grand jury found that Ziegler lied when he said that there was no record of an assault taking place in school bathrooms. Ziegler is set to receive 12 months of severance pay that is laid out in his contract, but it has not been confirmed whether or not a severance package will be offered.
The events that led to Ziegler's termination began when the father of a 15-year-old female student made accusations against the board during a meeting last year that a transgender student with male genitalia who was wearing a skirt raped his daughter in a school bathroom. The father was tackled to the ground by police, removed from the meeting, and charged with disorderly conduct.
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin later requested that the state's attorney general, Jason Miyares, investigate the school district concerning accusations that the transgender student had sexually assaulted two different female students.
Officials said that a "gender-fluid" boy had sexually assaulted the 15-year-old student on May 28, 2021, in the girls' bathroom at Stone Bridge High School. Less than six months later, the same transgender student was accused of forcing a female student into an empty classroom and touching her inappropriately after he was transferred to the school by the school district. The transgender student was found guilty in October 2021 of the sexual assault charges stemming from the first incident. The student was wearing an ankle monitor for the first offense when he assaulted the second female student. The transgender student pleaded no contest to sexual battery for the incident at Broad Run High School and was sentenced to probation in a residential treatment facility until June 2024, when he turns 18.
Ziegler's firing stems from his denial of the first sexual assault at a board meeting in June 2021. According to the report, a board member asked, "Do we have assaults in our bathrooms or in our locker rooms regularly? I would hope not, but I'd like clarification," to which Ziegler answered that there were no records of any assaults occurring in school bathrooms. The report also disclosed that the principal of Stone Bridge High School, Tim Flynn, did not mention to first sexual assault in an email to parents on the day the assault occurred. According to the report, Ziegler approved the email sent by Flynn.
The report also noted that there were numerous "decision points" leading up to the second incident on October 6 when school administrators, including the superintendent, could have intervened and been "transparent" about the first sexual assault to prevent the second one. The report stated bluntly, "They failed at every juncture."
The incidents became one of the biggest concerns for voters in the midterm elections and have caused quite a shakeup in the Loudoun County School District.
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