Equality Loudoun Responds to Alleged Assaults

Equality Loudoun issued a statement amid the community outrage surrounding two alleged sexual assaults at different high schools involving the same assailant during the past six months, offering sympathy to the victims and their families.

“Loudoun County Public Schools should be a place where students feel able to learn in a safe and accepting environment that enables them to bring their best to bear on their education. We understand these recent events may cause challenges for many survivors of sexual assault in our county, both adult and youth, and we stand in support of all victims of sexual assault in pushing for reforms in the system that do not protect victims first and foremost,” the statement said.

The first assault allegedly took place in a restroom at Stone Bridge High School on May 28. Scott Smith, the father of the victim, was arrested during the June 22 School Board meeting after getting into an altercation with another parent. On the agenda for that meeting was a discussion about the then-proposed Policy 8040, which allows transgender students to use the restroom facilities corresponding with their gender identities.

Smith was convicted with two misdemeanors, and is appealing the Circuit Court decision.

Policy 8040 was passed during the School Board meeting on Aug. 10. All Virginia school districts were required to implement a similar policy prior to the start of the 2021-2022 school year, or bear responsibility for any incidents that occur involving transgender students.

On Oct. 7, a second student, this time at Broad Run High School, was allegedly assaulted in a classroom by the same student.

Rumors swirled in the community that the assailant identifies as gender fluid. In response to charges that the student gained access to the restroom through the transgender policy, Equality Loudoun stated, “the accusations that the alleged perpetrator of these assaults is transgender or gender fluid have so far been unverified. Attempts to shift blame of this incident to any individual, group, or policy dash other than the alleged perpetrator dash does a grave disservice to the victims of these crimes an already marginalized youth in our community.” 

School Board critics have pushed back against the policy, claiming that it puts young girls at risk of being assaulted, and also excludes parents from knowing about a child’s decision to transition to another gender. Under the policy, students are entitled to be addressed by the pronouns that correspond with their chosen gender identity. Parents do not need to be informed of the decision.

While the school district does not comment on incidents involving students, Superintendent Scott Ziegler addressed the media on Friday, claiming that Title IX protocols were followed in response to both the incident in May and in October, and that those protocols were insufficient to protect students.

The district does not begin investigations or take action against students until involved law enforcement agencies conclude criminal investigations. Title IX requires the school district to provide an education to a child under investigation. Many parents asked during the Oct. 12 board meeting why the assailant was not enrolled in the alternative school program.

The statement also said that Equality Loudoun “stands firmly with the community in demanding a change in the policies that actually enabled these events.”

12 thoughts on “Equality Loudoun Responds to Alleged Assaults

  • 2021-10-18 at 4:48 pm
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    We can’t allow reality to interfere with our self-destructive illusions! The board doesn’t care if your children are assaulted in schools. And the board doesn’t care what parents think. Pay your taxes and submit. That’s the clear message here. Remember this on election day.

  • 2021-10-18 at 5:35 pm
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    Please ask yourself what could possible be the reason LCPS DOES NOT report all assaults and bullying events to the school, board or the public? If the primary contention justifying the Superintendent’s salary is to maintain safe schools why voluntarily admit the volume of assaults and bullying events that occur DAILY? I was only on the school board for 8 years most of which as the only licensed attorney so I was aware of such incidents and they were closer to hourly events than “Gosh – I didn’t see any reports of any incidents in bathrooms”.(in my opinion) Douglas School was set up precisely to allow LCPS to at least temporarily offload troubled students into a healthy, low class size environment so I am completely confused as to why that was not the right choice versus Broad Run. Something (or lots of things) are not operating as standard school board behavior apparently making/forcing full disclosure of all communications among senior staff and the school board a mere starting point to get to the bottom of this downward drifting situation in my opinion. 🙂

  • 2021-10-18 at 5:46 pm
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    No one of the opposite sex should be permitted to enter into a bathroom of the opposite sex, ever. The schools have to maintain the utmost security because children under the age of 18 neurons are not developed to handle any threatening situation. They also can be easily coerced. It also can cause life long traumatic issues which may lead to gender issues. Isn’t the school system loaded with educated professionals that have studied developmental stages? Are they not all aware that developmentally teens are the most vulnerable as the move away from their parents and are more involved with peers. Did our educators learn Erickson, Piaget ?? Keep them safe, period. The last sex assault that happened earlier this year, it appears the rapist got timed served. What in the world is happening in Loundon County right now???

    • 2021-10-22 at 8:06 pm
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      Every time I read some thing like “No one of the opposite sex should be permitted to enter into a bathroom of the opposite sex” my first thought is enforcement. How, exactly, do you plan to enforce a rule like this? As I see it, the on’y people who’d want to be bathroom monitors are sex-offenders. It’s like these laws would create a sex offender hiring surge.

      Get real, the “threat” is so minor that there’s no math to actually register it in the overallkolume of (as Bob pointed out) huge assault counts in the schools.

      I get it, panic plays, but use your heads people, there’s no way to enforce such laws without creating greater problems.

  • 2021-10-18 at 5:52 pm
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    Thank you Loudoun Now for printing this important story. It helps mitigate the horrible rumors that some Loudouners have been spreading. I’m very grateful for the formation of Loudoun 4 All. The Frenzied mob calling for heads to roll has been eager to believe the worst about LCPS, no matter how far-fetched it might be. Some are doing so for political purposes which is reprehensible. I just hopet everyone settles down & reserves judgment until facts are known to the fullest extent possible.

  • 2021-10-18 at 6:45 pm
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    From Loudoun4All:

    THE FIRST INCIDENT-STONE BRIDGE HS 5/28/2021

    The first incident occurred at Stone Bridge High School on May 28th, 2021.

    According to her father, the student called her father to inform him that she had been sexually assaulted at school. The father then went straight to the school.

    LCSO NOTIFICATION

    LCSO was contacted, however there is some conflicting information as to whether they were called because of the assault, or because the father arrived upset at the front office.

    The father says LCSO was called on him and an email from the school principal to parents sent that evening stated there was an incident at the school that was confined to the front office and no students were in danger.

    LCSO confirmed that a May 28 report with “Offense: Forcible Sodomy [and] Sexual Battery” at Stone Bridge High School does exist, but it is not public record.

    WHY WAS THERE NO PUBLIC NOTIFICATION?

    There is a public incident report for the second assault, but none seems to be available for the first. LCSO states that juvenile reports are excluded from disclosure. They further state that the first incident was more complicated and required additional investigation because the victim knew the assailant.

    LCSO INVESTIGATION AND ARREST

    LCPS and LCSO say that a two-month-long investigation was conducted by LCSO to determine the facts of the case prior to arrest. The Commonwealth Attorney says that until DNA evidence could be processed, they could not make the arrest or they would risk losing the case.

    LCPS ACTION

    The LCPS School Board issued a statement stating that LCPS was advised by law enforcement not to conduct any interviews or investigation until after the LCSO had completed their investigation. A School Board member stated that schools are prohibited from disciplining a student without following the federally mandated Title IX grievance process, enacted by the previous Department of Education administration.

    LCPS stated they “do implement interim measures to protect the safety of students involved in a reported incident, as well as to deter retaliation and preserve the integrity of an ensuing investigation.”

    LCSO says they are not responsible for student placement or discipline

    It seems that the assailant was under electronic monitoring and transferred to another school.

    SCHOOL BOARD INVOLVEMENT

    The LCPS School Board issued a statement stating they were not aware of the details of the cases until earlier this week since the Board is purposely kept out of discipline measures so that students are not deprived of due process if matters are appealed.

    SUPERINTENDENT DR. ZEIGLER INVOLVEMENT

    At the June 22 school board meeting, Superintendent Scott Ziegler declared that “we” don’t have any records of assaults happening in our restrooms.

    SECOND INCIDENT – ASSAULT AT BROAD RUN HS 10/6/2021

    A second incident of assault occurred at Broad Run High School on October 6, where a student was forced into an empty classroom and assaulted.

    The victim immediately reported the incident to a Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officer. There is an LCSO public incident report.

    WERE THE TWO INCIDENTS THE SAME ASSAILANT?

    A WTOP article says the assailant was the same in both cases.

    WHY IS THE CASE TAKING SO LONG?

    According to the Commonwealth Attorney, once a juvenile is charged, the prosecutors need to adjudicate his case within 21 days or release the subject. The DNA analysis was not complete within that timeline, so they had to ask the court for additional time. The court ordered electronic monitoring and monitoring by a probation officer. The assailant was under this monitoring when the second assault occurred.

    The suspect was due in court this week regarding the May incident, but with the filing of the second charge, the court date will be rescheduled.

    INCIDENT AT SCHOOL BOARD MEETING ON JUNE 22nd

    The father of the first victim was arrested at the June 22nd School Board Meeting. Sources say he was in an argument with a woman. When he became highly agitated, he was removed from the meeting and subsequently arrested. He was taken to the Adult Detention Center and charged with the two misdemeanors.

    He was sentenced to 10 days in jail, all suspended, contingent on a year of good behavior. (7)

    WAS THE ASSAILANT TRANSGENDER?

    There has been a lot of conflicting information and we have found no reliable source claiming the student was transgender. The Daily Wire quotes the father as saying that the assailant was wearing a skirt, but the father later said : “I don’t care if he’s homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, transsexual. He’s a sexual predator.”

    WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE:

    We believe that the systems failed at all levels to protect the students. We need LCPS to listen, and believe, students and parents when it comes to reporting assault.

    We are calling for transparency from LCPS towards the community when there are incidents in our schools. It appears that Broad Run failed to notify parents of the assault, only notifying them of the incident in the office with the incensed father.

    We call on LCPS and LCSO to work together rather than pointing fingers at one another. Both have failed in different ways, and therefore both should be fully accountable.

    We call on LCSO to be more transparent to the public. Although incidents with juveniles may not be mandatory to report, they should still be reported (with names withdrawn).

    We support the need for resources to allow LCSO investigations to happen faster, and DNA to be processed immediately. We cannot allow a backlog on processing DNA.

    We support repealing the recent changes to Federal Title IX that protects violent offenders over victims.

    Although some have claimed that VA HB 257 meant that LCPS was not mandated to report these incidents, that is incorrect. HB 257 gives schools discretion in reporting only in regards to certain misdemeanors that they believe can be handled better without involving law enforcement. This does not apply to assault or rape. This bullet should go above, when we’re talking about the actions that LCPS took after the first incident.

    We call on LCPS to remove students accused of violent assault, or arrange for perpetrators to be kept away from other students during the investigation time, whenever the law allows, and monitored by an adult at all times. Students under investigation should use single restrooms for bathroom needs and in place of group locker rooms.

    We urge that the Superintendent be notified immediately of all violent incidents that occur at schools.

    We call on the wider community to focus on keeping all our students safe. Over 99% of sexual assaults are committed by men, but we recognize that those committing the assaults are predators, and we don’t punish all men. Similarly, the attempts to paint all transgender students as potential predators based on rumors that one assailant might have been wearing a skirt (which does not make him transgender) is unfair and discriminatory. Transgender students are far more likely to be the victims of assaults than the perpetrators, and we must protect transgender students along with all our students.

    • 2021-10-19 at 6:00 pm
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      Let’s correct some misinformation.

      1. There was no change whatsoever that prevented LCPS or any institution from protecting anyone. The rabid Leftists of the Obama administration had interpreted Title IX rules to allow for the accused to be found guilty without even being able to confront the accusers in a hearing and based on the preponderance of evidence. We know some accusers lie (see Duke lacrosse rape fraud and UVA assault fraud). Imagine somebody writing down a myth, submitting it to a student panel at college, and being stripped of 3+ years of college credit because of a myth. We would have countless boys wrongly expelled if we allowed such hollow “due process” measures in place.

      2. But protecting rights of the accused HAS NEVER prevented education officials from protecting victims OR others who are exposed. LCPS couldn’t summarily expel the accused rapist just like colleges cannot expel men because women write a story. But they can and do provide protections and restrictions on those accused to protect others. LCPS could have taken any number of steps, including informing students of an alleged rape on campus, to ensure their safety. Does anybody on this Earth believe LCPS withheld the rape accusation to “protect the rapist’s rights” as opposed to avoiding bad PR? I will give $5K to anybody who can pass a lie detector on that.

      3. The poster is correct that there are a lot of assaults by gay men itn gay men. This is why it is so important to protect gay youth from predators like Dominion’s Brian Damron. He was protected by LCPS in part because everybody is scared to point out pedophilia by a gay employee.

      4. If the poster is correct that the vast majority of assaults occur against women, then the solution obviously includes (true) ….. wait for it …. keeping BOYS (straight, gay, or “trans girls”) out of the GIRLS bathroom!!! That ain’t rocket science.

      It is quite clear that Equality Loudoun couldn’t care less about protecting female victims. They believe that if they can “protect” just 1 LGBTQ student from having their feelings hurt, it is worth all the rapes of female students in the world.

  • 2021-10-18 at 9:32 pm
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    I’m glad to hear that Equality Loudoun, “stands firmly with the community in demanding a change in the policies that actually enabled these events.”

    Sounds like we agree – enabling a male to use a girls restroom is not good policy – whether or not he is wearing a skirt. Surely we want to do everything we can to keep our students safe.

  • 2021-10-19 at 3:17 am
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    Seems to me this group, Equality Loudoun, are hypocrites and wish to protect the assailant, all while claiming otherwise. Typical.

  • 2021-10-19 at 3:24 am
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    This is a disingenuous statement. Officials are scared of being accused of being “homophobic” by bomb throwers like Equality Loudoun. This is why LCPS ignored Dominion High’s Brian Damron’s inappropriate grooming of students for so long. Ironically, it was gay students subjected to Damron’s misconduct but I guess Equality Loudoun sees that as good for gay adults.

    And it is curious that Equality Loudoun said “[a]ttempts to shift blame of this incident to any individual, group, or policy other than the alleged perpetrator” does a disservice to the victims. Will they echo that same sentiment if there are gun incidents or attacks against LGBTQ? Will they agree only the perpetrators are to be blamed then? I will bet my house they won’t.

  • 2021-10-19 at 8:21 pm
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    Meaningless words.

    We are waiting for Equality Loudoun to issue a statement that boys and girls should have separate bathrooms and locker rooms.
    THAT is how you can keep our kids safe for starters.

    Replacing the entire school board and the superintendent is another way to protect Loudoun youth!

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