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Loudoun County parents at the June 22, 2021 school board meeting. Parents protested transgender policies and propaganda in schools as well as critical race theoryTwitter video / Gabriella Borter

(LifeSiteNews) — The school district at the center of an ongoing firestorm over sexual assault and restroom policy is asking a parent for a five-figure sum before it will comply with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents shedding light on its knowledge of the situation.

The Daily Caller reports that on October 18, mother Michelle Mege submitted a FOIA request for “all communications, including press releases, statements, emails, or other correspondence in any format” in the possession of Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) containing the words “sexual assault” or “rape” from May 1 to Oct. 18, 2021.

“Retrieving these documents would take a half hour’s work by the supervisor of information technology at a cost of $36.08,” responded LCPS public information officer Wayde Byard. “Review of these documents — at the rate of 200 per hour — is estimated to take 500 hours. This work would be performed by the public information officer at the rate of $72.15 per hour. Loudoun County Public Schools estimates it would cost $36,111.68 to fulfill this request.”

The Caller says it reviewed other FOIA requests to the district that were given similar hourly rates.

“The fact that there are potentially 100,000 documents responsive to this request is extremely concerning,” observed Ian Prior, founder of the pro-parent education reform group Fight for Schools. “But it is equally concerning that Loudoun County Public Schools would put up a $36,000 roadblock in front of parents trying to find out the extent of sexual assaults occurring in our schools, especially since LCPS has not been reporting those sexual assaults to the state as is required by law.”

Loudoun County first came to national attention when U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland instructed the FBI to mobilize a “partnership” between federal, state, and local authorities to discuss “strategies” relating to handling alleged “threats” to educators from parents protesting controversial school content such as critical race theory.

As evidence of such “threats,” the Biden administration cited a letter from the heads of the National School Board Association (NSBA) containing examples of alleged unruly behavior at various school board meetings. That letter, for which the NSBA has since apologized, cited the case of Loudoun parent Scott Smith, who was arrested for disorderly conduct at one such meeting, but it soon came out that he was actually trying to confront school board members about the district allegedly covering up the rape of his daughter by a “transgender” student in the girls’ bathroom.

The situation, along with a more recent allegation of another student sexual assault, intensified protests against the district’s leadership, including a student walkout and Democrats losing the Virginia governorship and House of Delegates.

Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman says that LCPS Superintendent Scott Ziegler lied when he claimed to have “no record” of the first assault, as an email from Ziegler himself showed he was “unmistakably aware of the offense.” Five former attorneys general of Virginia have called on their successor Mark Herring to “immediately open an investigation” into the school district.