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Grand Jury to Loudoun Schools: Increase Transparency

A Virginia grand jury castigated Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) for a massive lack of transparency regarding sexual assaults committed by the same student at two different schools.

According to the grand jury findings, district officials showed a “stunning lack of openness, transparency and accountability” to both the grand jury and the public. The report finds LCPS officials bear “the brunt of the blame” for the second assault by transferring the assailant to another high school while charges were pending.

When the father of the first victim confronted the school, he was told that the assault was being handled “in-house” and when he confronted the school board for claiming no such assault had occurred, he was arrested for disorderly conduct. The grand jury report subsequently found that school system superintendent Scott Ziegler lied about the assault during that school board meeting.

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) cited this case as an example of  “heinous actions” that were “equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism” in a letter sent to the White House in September 2021. Although the NSBA has since apologized for this letter, Attorney General Merrick Garland has yet to rescind his memo responding to the letter nor has he disbanded the FBI task force created to track parents using counterterrorism tools.

These events make one thing abundantly clear: transparency in schools is non-negotiable. Where the safety of children is concerned, the more transparency the better. Parents have a right to know what is happening at their child’s school.

That is why Republicans introduced the Parents Bill of Rights, which protects a parent’s right to be heard and to know what their child is being taught. This legislation will also require schools to notify parents if violent activity occurs on school grounds or at school-sponsored events.

LCPS must heed the grand jury’s top recommendation: “Increase transparency” and they must do it immediately. 

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