LOUDOUN COUNTY (LifeSiteNews) – Following the indictment of fired ex-Loudoun County Public Schools superintendent Scott Ziegler for allegedly covering up a student rape case with damaging implications for the LGBT debate, community parents descended on the latest school board meeting Tuesday evening to voice their discontent.
As LifeSiteNews previously covered, a grand jury impaneled by Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares returned charges against Ziegler of misdemeanor false publication, misdemeanor prohibited conduct, and misdemeanor penalizing an employee for a court appearance, potentially carrying up to one year of prison time; as well as a felony perjury charge against LCPS Public Information Officer Wayde Byard, punishable by up to 10 years in jail. The charges pertain to the officials’ handling of a rape of a female student by a gender-confused male in a girls’ bathroom.
The Washington Examiner reported that Tuesday saw a “horde of incensed parents” attend the Loudoun County School Board’s first regular public meeting since the grand jury report finding that school officials “failed at every juncture” in handling the case was released.
“They all knew,” said Scott Smith, the victim’s father. “They did their own report on this that they did not release to the public. All those school board members knew. Everybody knows this is just more cover-up, more of the same until there’s a cleaner house and more indictments and more people held accountable. We’re basically here tonight doing the same thing we were doing a year ago. Nothing has changed.”
One subject of the meeting was ostensibly for school officials to discuss reforms to prevent similar situations in the future, including changes to existing technology policy, student transfer policy, and threat assessment policy, as well as the school board’s code of conduct.
“We’re going to move on to these recommendations, and that’s where the process begins, but it sure isn’t going to end there,” school district lawyer Robert Falconi said, according to WTOP.
But Smith was not impressed, telling Falconi that “if there was a law on the book, you would be indicted,” and that as long as the district kept him around, “there will be no peace, there will be no healing, there will be no sleeping, nothing.”
The grand jury report found that Falconi had engaged in conduct to obstruct the investigation by attempting to control or prevent employees from testifying, but could not be charged himself because “[u]nlike federal law, no Virginia statute explicitly addresses witness tampering, and the Virginia obstruction of justice statute does not cover this fact pattern. For those reasons, we are unable to consider an indictment against the LCPS division counsel.”
According to several parents who spoke, nothing less than the resignation of the board members who presided over the fiasco will suffice. “You have a choice: unconditional surrender or unconditional surrender,” said one parent according to The Lion.
“Nobody is going to trust Loudoun County Public Schools as long as the seven members of the school board that were in office last year when this all happened and throughout the grand jury process are still sitting on that dais,” said Ian Prior, executive director of Fight for Schools. “That goes for the Republicans and the Democrats on that board.”
The situation 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 lesson 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 containing examples of alleged unruly behavior at various school board meetings. That letter, for which the NSBA later apologized, cited 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 his daughter’s rape case. That and a second student sexual assault claim intensified protests against the district’s leadership, fueling the election of Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who along with Miyares vowed to investigate Loudoun County.