Fight for Schools, the group leading the recall effort of School Board members, is requesting the state superintendent of public instruction remove of Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Ziegler.
The letter, sent by Fight for Schools Executive Director Ian Prior to Jillian Ballow cites a state code provision that allows the state officials to remove a superintendent for “sufficient cause.”
“As you are no doubt aware, nowhere has the spotlight shone brighter on the failures of Virginia’s public school administrators than in Loudoun County,” Prior wrote. “From school board members and administrators participating in private social media forums that targeted parents, to suspending a teacher in violation of his and other teachers’ First Amendment rights, to willfully defying Governor Youngkin’s Executive Order allowing parents the choice of whether their children wear masks in school, Loudoun County Public Schools has been a case study in mismanagement and disrespect to students, parents, and the taxpayers who fund its operations.
“While many of the failures fall at the feet of the Loudoun County School Board, it should be clear to all observers that Superintendent Scott Ziegler does not possess the capability, experience, or leadership skills to sit at the helm of a $1.6 billion taxpayer-funded school division,” he wrote.
In the 149-page package, Prior cites myriad reasons for the action, from Ziegler stating that there had been no sexual assaults in school bathrooms less than a month after such an incident, to his characterization of a legal review of multiple assaults.
“Superintendent Ziegler has repeatedly and blatantly misled the public on very serious issues of school safety and has exhibited complete disregard for transparency and accountability,” Prior wrote.
Previously, Ziegler said that when he stated that there had been no sexual assaults in bathrooms, he misspoke, thinking that the discussion pertained to only transgender students. Ziegler was answering a question that arose during a discussion about then-proposed Policy 8040, which allows students to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.
It later came out that on May 28, a student had been sexually assaulted by an acquaintance in a Stone Bridge High School bathroom. The assailant, who’d been arrested on July 9, was transferred to Broad Run High School where he assaulted a second girl. Questions arose about the administration’s handling of the assaults. Ziegler said that Title IX reporting protocols had been followed after both assaults. Ziegler announced on Nov. 7 that the School Board had hired a law firm to conduct a review of the incidents.
The scandal and the School Board are now the subjects of an investigation by Attorney General Jason Miyares’ office—fulfilling a campaign promise made as the community reeled over the assaults.
Ziegler stepped into the superintendent role in an interim capacity in January 2021 following the departure of Eric Williams. He was appointed to the position on June 8.
Prior’s letter also references Ziegler declaring an unlawful assembly during the chaotic June 2d board meeting, when deputies cleared the boardroom. A man was arrested for not leaving the board room, and during his trial, Ziegler acknowledged he did not have the authority to make the declaration.
“Upon reflection, we did an after action debrief with my staff and we agreed that, after reviewing the code that counsel cited at the beginning of trial that my words were incorrect,” he said on the stand.
The school division did not respond with immediate comment.