Ziegler Again Cites Shortcomings of Title IX Protocol

Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Ziegler called for a change to Title IX protocol during last night’s School Board meeting. He said a change may have prevented a high-profile sexual assault from occurring in an Ashburn high school three weeks ago.

During a discussion about the Title IX violation reporting process, Ziegler said that he would like to see school divisions be given the authority to remove a student from the general school population if he or she presents an immediate threat to others.

“Local school divisions should have flexibility to provide greater protection measures including removing students completely from the student body when initial circumstance warrants it,” Ziegler told the School Board as it reviewed its 2022 legislative agenda, which it will submit to the General Assembly delegation.

The School Board and administration came under fire when news surfaced that a student who had sexually assaulted a classmate at Stone Bridge High School assaulted a second student six months later after being transferred to Broad Run High School. Ziegler informed the board on May 28, the day of the first incident, that the Sheriff’s Office was handling the investigation. However, when it was reported that the same student was transferred to a different school the following year, School Board members said they were unaware of the initial incident.

Ziegler said the school district would not conduct its own investigation until the Sheriff’s Office had concluded its. He claimed that Title IX protocols had been followed in response to the situation, but the protocols were insufficient to prevent the second tragedy.

Under Title IX, a division may remove the student on an emergency basis if it first conducts an individualized safety and risk analysis and determines that there is an immediate threat to students. It is unclear why the administration did not remove the student until investigations had concluded.

But, Division Title IX Coordinator Mark Smith said, with allegations that are also criminal in nature, the division defers to law enforcement.

“At times it’s hard for us to do a full risk assessment because we don’t have a full understanding of the information. … Sometimes, if it’s a sexual assault, it’s immediately turned over to law enforcement and we may not have the full details to make that assessment,” Smith told the board.

Aside from scenarios that pose an immediate risk to students, schools may modify student schedules or shift students to virtual learning to separate students involved in a complaint. But, both the defendant and the complainant must agree to those changes.

Changes to Title IX must be made at the federal level. Vice Chairwoman Atoosa Reaser (Algonkian) said that the School District legislative liaisons would need to work with members of Congress for those changes to be implemented.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, the board was inundated with calls for resignations over the assaults.

“If you can make a child stay home for refusing to wear a mask, you can make a child stay home for raping another student,” student Kaitlyn Hornbaker said.

Ted Williamson, a father in the Catoctin district, told the board that his daughters don’t go into bathrooms at school unless they are with a friend.

“We encourage them to hold it until they get home,” he said.

The scandal captured national attention and has catapulted education issues to the centerstage of the upcoming elections. John Beatty (Catoctin) gave a statement to Fox News last night, calling for Ziegler’s resignation, claiming the superintendent withheld information for political gain.

One speaker during the meeting condemned Beatty and School Board critics for using the assault for political gain.

The Biden administration already is reviewing Title IX, a process that is set to conclude next May. The 60-day Virginia General Assembly session begins on Jan. 12.

11 thoughts on “Ziegler Again Cites Shortcomings of Title IX Protocol

  • 2021-10-27 at 10:41 am
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    Ziegler is a LIAR.
    And a finger-pointer.

    Two of the worst human traits.

    He. Must. Go.

  • 2021-10-27 at 10:48 am
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    Had the accused rapist been vigorously prosecuted, he might have been placed in custody and never been free to roam the halls of another school within months of the first attack.

    Instead, the school board, the Commonwealth Attorney, and possibly some part of the LCSO aimed their efforts at silencing and persecuting the father of the first victim.

    The email chain shows the school board knew of the event and Ziegler LIED about it in the June meeting. Then the county unleashed on Mr. Scott.

    The school board, Ziegler and the CA need to go immediately. And Chapman needs to find out which of his staff may have been involved in the persecution of Mr. Smith.

  • 2021-10-27 at 11:21 am
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    Thanks for running this helpful story Loudoun Now. I hope there will be much better communication between LCPS & the Sheriff’s Office if & when criminal charges are filed against an LCPS students. After hearing folks speak at last night’s school board meeting, I totally understand why board members are limited in what they can know & say publicly about student discipline. Many LCPS critics could care less about a student’s privacy. They’re desperately trying to keep the May 28 rape issue front & center for their own ulterior motives. Their hate for LCPS leadership knows no bounds. Also, their attempts to link the egregious May 28 rape to Policy 8040 & the Trans community are quite disgusting. The vast majority of shenanigans in restrooms involve the Cisgender community. Leave the Trans community alone!

    • 2021-10-27 at 7:29 pm
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      The problem is that LCPS could have had the perpetrator restricted to home instruction yet they put this whole issue under the rug. The issue is the dishonesty of the Board and the Superintendent. The Board claimed they knew nothing yet they were information the day the first incidence occurred. This Board refuses to take any responsibility for its ill conceived policies and actions. In terms of the perpetrator’s privacy rights, you don’t think that every student doesn’t know who committed this crime? I think giving the Board a get of jail free card on this just continues their belief that they can ignore concerns of the citizens and their constituents.

    • 2021-10-27 at 8:50 pm
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      Let’s be perfectly clear… these aren’t “shenanigans,” they’re sexual assaults.

      And for the record… two days ago, The Washington Post reported the following:

      “The defendant initially told detectives the second sexual act did not occur, but later said it may have happened briefly and accidentally when a knee-length skirt he was wearing got caught on his watch as the pair were fumbling around in the bathroom stall.”

      The Keywords here are: HE & SKIRT

  • 2021-10-27 at 1:20 pm
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    “Ziegler said that he would like to see school divisions be given the authority to remove a student from the student body if they present an immediate threat to others.”

    This is the exact mentality that allowed the Parkland shooter to have over 50 LE contacts, and yet still remained in school to commit a completely preventable attack.

    He’s lying. He knows he’s lying. And expects the rest of us to buy his deceit. Fire this man now. He’s a direct threat to our children’s safety.

  • 2021-10-27 at 3:59 pm
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    The shortcomings are Ziegler’s lack of any kind of leadership.

  • 2021-10-27 at 5:03 pm
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    There was a comment made that there were armed guards at the doors and that they to protect the school board members, so they are all about their own protection, but not about protecting our kids. Terrible. Worse yet, Beatty is like a rat trying to leave a sinking ship… Now, he’s calling for Ziegler’s firing. Too late, John. Nice try. Having an(R) after your name won’t save you.
    They all knew. They all need to go.

  • 2021-10-27 at 5:52 pm
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    So many mis-steps and such a need for Title IX and for better sex ed.
    The current status quo is not working. Title IX needs to be on the discussion table as does a safe environment for victims to come forward and be believed. Parents need to teach kids at a very young age to be respectful of others.
    Many of the feelings of fear or anger are misplaced on the school board. They are not the ones who investigated. It was turned over to the sheriff’s office. Our Commonwealth Attorney was doing her job.

  • 2021-10-27 at 6:19 pm
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    Leadership? Ziegler doesn’t have an ounce of it.

    His lies led to another girl being assaulted by a boy in a skirt in our high schools.

    Pathetic and criminal.

  • 2021-10-28 at 12:55 pm
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    People shouldn’t put too much faith in the Loudoun County Sherriff’s Office.

    According to the School Resource Officer at Willard Intermediate School a boy secretly taking pictures of a younger girl is not an issue because it’s completely legal and grabbing a child’s genitals isn’t considered sexual assault if it’s done over the clothing. Additionally, it the child who is being grabbed pushes the grabber away, THAT child is considered to be a willing participant in a fight.

    From what I can tell, LCSO deputies are poorly trained at interviewing and recognizing indicators of sexual abuse.

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