An email sent from Superintendent Scott Ziegler to the full School Board on May 28 shows that Ziegler informed the board about the alleged rape of a Stone Bridge High School student on the day of the incident.
The administration came under fire last week when it was revealed that the assailant from the May 28 incident was transferred to Broad Run High School, where he allegedly assaulted a second student on Oct. 7.
A statement accompanying the email, whichLoudoun Nowobtained through a FOIA request, maintains that School Board members were told in May that they would not be updated on the investigation, which was taken over by the Sheriff’s Office.
Ziegler’s email to the board, which was labeled as confidential, was sent shortly after 4 p.m. on the day of the assault.It did not include any student names or identifying information.
“This afternoon a female student alleged that a male student sexually assaulted her in the restroom,” the email said. Ziegler also referenced the victim’s father response to the alleged assault, which escalated to deputies responding to the school.
The father of the victim toldLoudoun Nowthat he grew frustrated not getting any answers from the school resource officer, a deputy assigned to the school campus, and Principal Timothy Flynn about what had happened to his daughter.
Parents in the district have pressed for answers from Ziegler and the board about their handling of the incident.
Dozens of parents delivered public comment during the Oct. 12 board meeting, alleging that Ziegler and the board lied and protected a rapist. Parents accused Ziegler of knowingly endangering other students by allowing the assailant to attend Broad Run High School this school year.
A month after the initial incident in May, Ziegler said during the June 22 School Board meeting that there had been no assaults in restrooms. His statement came during a discussion about then-proposed Policy 8040, which protects the rights of transgender and gender expansive students. The district was required by state law to implement such a policy by the start of the 2021-2022 school year, or bear the liability if any incidents occurred. The policy, adopted on Aug.10, permits students to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity. Ziegler addressed the media last week, and said that he misinterpreted a question from board member Beth Barts (Leesburg), when he said there hadn’t been assaults in bathrooms, thinking that she was only asking about assaults involving transgender students.
“I regret that my comments were misleading and I apologize for the distress that error caused families. I should have asked Board Member Barts clarifying questions to get to the root of her question, rather than assuming what she meant. I will do better in the future,” Ziegler said.
“The School Board had not been provided any specific information regarding this matter from LCPS prior to the June 22, 2021 meeting or at any point thereafter until recent news reports were published.”
Criminal investigations that occur in Loudoun schools are handled by either the Sherriff’s Office or the Leesburg Police Department. The district does not conduct its own investigation until law enforcement agencies conclude theirs.