Loudoun Schools Chief of Staff Out

The Loudoun County Public Schools Chief of Staff and former Title IX Coordinator is out following an investigation into the district’s handling of a sexual assault scandal in two high schools.

In May, a Stone Bridge High School student sexually assaulted a schoolmate in a bathroom. The teen was transferred to Broad Run High School, where he sexually assaulted a second student in October. 

Mark Smith served as chief of staff beginning in January 2021, when Superintendent Scott Ziegler took over the division in an interim capacity.

The investigation was conducted by the Fairfax County-based law firm Blankingship & Keith, P.C. The division will not release the report, citing attorney-client privilege.

After the report was completed, LCPS announced a series of actions, including unidentified personnel changes, naming Chief Human Resources Officer Lisa Boland the new Title IX coordinator, and new mandatory Title IX trainings for staff.

A source with knowledge of the decision to end Smith’s employment said it was made last week. His staff bio was removed from the school division’s website Friday afternoon.

A source connected to the School Board said that Smith’s departure, without releasing the report to the public, unfairly makes Smith the division’s scapegoat.

“Someone had to take the fall but I don’t believe that this is the end. I think the superintendent will have a new job by the end of the year,” the source said. “This is making Mark Smith the fall guy without releasing the report. And that’s not fair.”

In October, Ziegler made a statement to media members that the division followed Title IX reporting processes following the assaults, but the shortcomings in the protocols led to the student being transferred to the new school, putting more students in harm’s way.

The source said they speculate that the report is not being released because it proves LCPS staff is culpable for the assaults, though it originally cited student privacy as its reason for withholding the report.

“Obviously now that we see this, we know it’s not about the privacy of the students,” they said.

The source also said that while the board was informed of the first assault in an email the day it occurred, it was never communicated to the board that the student had been transferred to Broad Run.

The scandal sparked national outrage. New Attorney General Jason Miyares announced on Saturday that he opened an investigation into the handling of the assaults, and of the School Board.

13 thoughts on “Loudoun Schools Chief of Staff Out

  • 2022-01-20 at 1:15 pm

    Definition of ’sacrificial lamb’

    If you refer to someone as a sacrificial lamb, you mean that they have been blamed unfairly for something they did not do, usually in order to protect another more powerful person or group.
    He was a sacrificial lamb to a system that destroyed him.

    1. a lamb that is ritually killed as an offer to a deity
    2. someone that is surrendered or metaphorically sacrificed for the good or benefit of something else
    He was a sacrificial lamb to a system that destroyed him.

    Ziegler is the one that NEEDS TO GO. He LIED. Kids were injured.

  • 2022-01-20 at 2:04 pm

    Wrong head; Ziegler is the one who needs to go, for cause. He’s the sexual predator enabler.

    • 2022-01-20 at 9:07 pm

      Yep. Ziegler was the one trained on Title IX protocols, not the COS scapegoat!

  • 2022-01-20 at 2:21 pm

    “I think the superintendent will have a new job by the end of the year.” Let’s hope LCPS stops “passing the trash” and that he is not employed anywhere near children.

  • 2022-01-20 at 4:17 pm

    Mr. Smith’s departure is a personnel matter I’ll refrain from commenting upon. I will say I can’t fault LCPS for embargoing the B&K Report. LCPS officials are doing their part to protect the privacy of the victims, despite the politicization by some. The Stone Bridge/Broad Run incidents had nothing to do with the Trans community. That boogeyman was invoked to influence an election & to run Dr. Ziegler out of town. His supporters are disappointed by such behavior but not deterred. Please leave Dr. Ziegler alone & let him do the job he was selected to do!

    • 2022-01-20 at 5:53 pm

      The ONLY thing LCPS is “protecting” are those that are guilty of not ensuring the safety of Loudoun’s children.

      Happy Sexual Predator Enablers Day, Loudoun!

    • 2022-01-21 at 4:13 am

      The report should be released, can still give the victims anonymity by redacting names. If there is nothing to hide release it. Remember tax payer dollars paid for the independent investigation.

  • 2022-01-20 at 5:20 pm

    Zeigler’s departure would be a cause for celebration.

  • 2022-01-20 at 5:26 pm

    This is a completely biased and unsourced story. That’s unfair to everyone, especially your readers. Your source needs to find the courage to speak on the record.

  • 2022-01-20 at 5:55 pm

    This is a good start, but Ziegler needs to go as well as the Board of Educations. Our schools cannot move forward until the people that are doing them wrong leave. Many of us moved to Loudoun because we had one of the best school systems and in recent years that has been declining, removal of school ranking, reduce enrollment, falling SOL and SAT scores and poor curriculum. We all want the schools to get to what they once were and this administration does not appear to know what to do and/or willing to do what needs to be done. We must move quickly and swift to right this before it goes much further. If we don’t, we will get to a point where we cannot fix this and no citizen wants to have schools that perform poorly in these critical areas.

  • 2022-01-21 at 8:18 am

    Why cannot a FOIA be filed for a redacted version of the report ? Over the past years we have seen various classified government reports published in redacted form. This one is no different. And thanks to the AC Biberaj wanting to publicly prosecute the father of the girl assaulted, his identity has already been published with no protection. So this is just a coverup of the findings. Ziegler and his ilk need to be fired right now.

  • 2022-01-27 at 6:13 pm

    Good leaders don’t ever put innocent children at risk or in harm’s way and they don’t ignore the problems that exist. Where was Ralph Northam? Why wasn’t this addressed immediately and a full sweep occur in the schools to never permit it to happen again. These victims may have life, long health issues.

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