Loudoun County Public School System (LCPS), dug a huge hole and are now desperately trying to dig their way out.
There was first the horrendous story of a sex assault on two victims and the reaction of Scott Smith’s father to Scott Smith trying to raise his concerns about Scott Smith being sex assaulted in the girls toilet by the skirt-wearing boy involved. LCPS allegedly failed to report sexual assaults as required under state law. This would have obscured how many assaults might have occurred over a time period of at most for the last few years.
But it’s a little too late to try to spin all the allegations of what LCPS did wrong at this point.
That didn’t stop the LCPS superintendent from trying today. Scott Ziegler apologised for not being truthful in June when he said that there was no evidence of assaults in the bathrooms. That was his line, when people were expressing concerns about the school’s policy in regard to self-identified transgender students. Today, however, he says he misunderstood what he meant when he was asked about June’s denial of any assaults occurring in the toilets.
“I wrongly interpreted as incidents involving transgender and gender-fluid students. I did this because I was viewing the question in light of the general questions and debate around policy 8040 that was occurring at the time,” Ziegler said in a statement.
He regrets that his comments were “misleading” and “I apologize for the distress that error caused families. Instead of assuming she meant, I would have asked Barts clarification questions. I will do better in the future.”
Yeah, no, that’s not going to fly now. That was June, it’s now October you’re claiming this excuse now? You’re just saying what you think you need to say to get out of the sudden crisis and the spotlight you have dragged the school system into. In June, Ziegler said, “To my knowledge, we don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms.”
Here’s the clip of him saying it.
— Elicia Brand (@EliciaBrand) October 12, 2021
This declarative lie is hard to refute. But, that didn’t stop him from trying to spin.
Ziegler tried the “I’m going to apologize” trick and maybe it will all go away.
“To the extent we are legally permitted to do so, we will begin disciplinary action at the time of the incident, rather than suspending that action until the end of the criminal or Title IX investigation.”
Full statement from Dr. Scott Ziegler: https://t.co/9DCMsAygi0 pic.twitter.com/5ZKH8iXQJP
— 7News DC (@7NewsDC) October 15, 2021
You got that right, you failed in a major way a “safe” environment. But notice something else he also appears to be saying here that’s troubling. “To the extent we are legally permitted to do so, we will begin disciplinary action at the time of the incident, rather than suspending that action until the end of the criminal or Title IX investigation,” Ziegler says.
So he’s saying they didn’t take disciplinary action at the time of the incident, even so far as to keep other people safe, until they had an ultimate criminal or Title IX decision? Wow. Is this why the assault on another student happened?
“This has been a very difficult time for our community. We are committed to finding ways to improve our processes to ensure that Loudoun County schools are safe for all of our students.”
— @LCPSOfficial superintendent Dr. Scott Ziegler
Full statement: https://t.co/9DCMsAygi0 pic.twitter.com/wHdPT037oj
— 7News DC (@7NewsDC) October 15, 2021
Ziegler discusses the legal obligations of students to maintain confidentiality. But that doesn’t mean that you lie to the public about whether or not incidents have occurred. Your proper response is “We cannot comment on this at this time.” Moreover, if he cared so much about legal responsibilities, why was it that the school allegedly wasn’t reporting alleged sexual assaults that we know of, now, publicly?
They are legally required to report such incidents, as we stated earlier. Yet, their records didn’t reflect the alleged rape of Scott Smith’s daughter in the bathroom in May of this year, the last school year. The records also didn’t reflect another incident of an alleged sexual assault by football players on a younger player in 2018, an incident that was widely reported in the news. This raises the question: how many incidents went unreported?
Ziegler may be doing his best to keep as many details as possible, as the Virginia Department of Education stated that they will investigate. He can face serious legal consequences if the reporting requirements are not followed.
The law says that “A division superintendent who knowingly fails to comply or secure compliance with the reporting requirements of this subsection shall be subject to the sanctions authorized in § 22.1-65. A principal who knowingly fails to comply or secure compliance with the reporting requirements of this section shall be subject to sanctions prescribed by the local school board, which may include, but need not be limited to, demotion or dismissal.”
In addition to Ziegler’s statement, left-wing school board member Beth Barts, who has frequently been involved with conflicts with parents over Critical Race Theory and the transgender policy, announced that she would be resigning from her position. It’s not clear if she resigned because of this latest controversy.
The parents who had been against her actions, and tried to recall her, found hope in the possibility of a positive turn.
“This could not have been an easy decision for Ms. Barts. Over the last several months we have expressed our disappointment with her behavior as a member of the school board, but she is now doing the right thing. Her former colleagues should take notice,” Ian Prior, the executive director of Virginia parent group Fight for Schools, said in a statement Friday.
“The community should know, however, that the problems at Loudoun County Public Schools and on the school board go well beyond one school board member,” Prior added. “We will continue to shine a light on Loudoun County Public Schools and will keep fighting until we have a school board of common sense, non-partisan members and a superintendent who is accountable to parents and tells the truth.”