LEESBURG, Va. (DC News Now) — Loudoun County’s superintendent is responding to criticism about transparency following a number of overdoses involving county students, some of which have occurred in the schools.
At a school board meeting Tuesday night, Aaron Spence offered a timeline and an explanation of how the district responded to the recent overdoses and discussed Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order stemming from the incidents, which requires schools to alert parents of school-related overdoses.
“We’re going to learn from this moment,” Spence said. “When we have that guidance, we’ll be able to have a fair conversation about exactly what we’ll do every time a student overdose occurs.”
Spence told the school board the district does notify parents of all medical emergencies at schools but does not detail the emergency.
“I wasn’t familiar during any of my previous superintendencies and conversations with my colleagues of anybody who has made that practice, again, I think largely because of concerns about student privacy,” he said.
Spence also added that he feels his message will not be heard by some due to years of broken trust in the community, but said the district is “doing the best that we know how with the information we have.”
The first-year superintendent told the school board he learned about an overdose where staff had to use life-saving measures on Oct. 17. He then said he told the school board the next day. He shared that he received a call from Sheriff Mike Chapman on Oct. 25, where Chapman expressed concerns about Park View High School. It was later revealed on Oct. 31 that there were seven students at the school who overdosed in a three-week span.
Spence said the day after that call with Chapman, he held a staff meeting and directed a task force to “get to work” on an education plan, safety assessments and a communication plan — first for PVHS parents and then for the community. LCPS did send a community-wide message on fentanyl, but not until after Chapman and the Sheriff’s Office did so first.