LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. (DC News Now) — Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Ziegler is out of a job following the release of a grand jury report Monday, which found the district “failed at all junctures” to prevent a second sexual assault from happening at the district.
The school board voted to terminate Ziegler late Tuesday night.
“I’m glad they handled it quickly and swiftly,” said Meredith Ray, a parent of two LCPS students.
Ray said she read the more than 90-page report twice.
“I think it was all very disturbing. There was a failure on a lot of different people who were supposed to be in charge of making sure this doesn’t happen,” she said. “They failed.”
The report investigated how Loudoun County Public Schools, the Loudoun County School Board and the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office handled two sexual assaults that happened in the district.
The first assault happened in May of 2021 when a male student at Stone Bridge High School allegedly sexually assaulted a female student in a girl’s bathroom. The suspect was transferred to Broad Run High School where he is accused of sexually assaulting a different female student in October of 2021.
“We believe that throughout this ordeal LCPS administrators were looking out for their own interests instead of the best interests of LCPS. This invariably led to a stunning lack of openness, transparency, and accountability both to the public and the special grand jury,” the report stated.
The report said that administrators, including the superintendent, had several steps where they could have stepped in prior to the October assault and changed the outcome, but “they failed at every juncture.”
“There were two girls who were really hurt that really needed the adults in the community to focus on them and support them and I think that really got lost,” said Amanda Bean, an LCPS parent.
Bean is also a member of the PAC Loudoun 4 All, which works to ensure equity in Loudoun County.
She supported the board’s decision to fire Ziegler.
“There were some really critical failures and a lot of them were in policy and training,” she said. “(Ziegler) actively seemed to mislead parents and that is not okay. I think there needs to be as much transparency, as much as the law provides.”
Still, Bean said his firing is just a first step. She’d also like to see Loudoun County Sheriff Michael Chapman held accountable.
The report states that the grand jury heard testimony that the Sheriff’s Office “did not see fit” to charge or arrest the suspect after the May assault but waited until public outrage grew in June to take action. It went on to say, “other testimony and documents seem to support this narrative.”
Loudoun 4 All is calling for Chapman’s resignation.
“To know our Sheriff’s Office will only pursue a brutal attack if there’s enough public attention is really worrisome,” said Bean.
Chapman said his office investigated the sexual assaults promptly and thoroughly. And that there was no delay in investigating.
“From the onset of this investigation, we dedicated significant resources and I’m proud of the work accomplished by the many LCSO members who assisted with this investigation,” said Sheriff Chapman. “I am pleased that my recommendation for a Virginia Attorney General’s Office review of the incident was performed.”
The Loudoun County School Board is holding an emergency meeting Thursday night, where it is expected to vote to approve Chief of Staff Daniel Smith as Acting Superintendent.