- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 7, 2022

The Loudoun County School Board fired superintendent Scott Ziegler over his handling of two sexual assaults committed by the same student, a day after the release of a special grand jury report that found district administrators “failed at every juncture.”

The board voted unanimously Tuesday night to terminate Mr. Ziegler’s employment after a two-hour closed session on the grand jury’s 92-page report, which accused the superintendent of lying at a June 2021 board meeting by saying “we don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms.”

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares convened the grand jury in April after a student wearing a skirt raped a girl in a girls’ restroom in May 2021 at Stone Bridge High School, and then assaulted another girl in October 2021 in a classroom at Broad Run High School after he was transferred.

Jessica Smith, the mother of the Stone Bridge victim, said after Mr. Ziegler‘s ouster that it was “unfortunate that it took a special grand jury report for anyone to take any action.”

“The firing of Ziegler was way overdue and we hope this is the first of many firings of all those who failed these young women who now have to deal with what happened to them for the rest of their lives,” Ms. Smith told LoudounNow news site.

At a Loudoun County Board of Supervisors meeting also held Tuesday night, Chairwoman Phyllis Randall was already calling for Mr. Ziegler‘s firing.

SEE ALSO: Grand jury: Loudoun County Schools ‘failed’ in response to on-campus sex assaults by boy in skirt

“Let me say this as clearly as possible: Dr. Scott Ziegler needs to be fired,” she said, as reported by LoudounNow. “I’m not dancing around this. We had a young woman violently raped and another one assaulted, and this was for all intents and purposes, on his part, a cover-up.”

Mr. Ziegler was fired without cause, meaning he will receive his full $323,000 annual salary and compensation for next year in monthly installments.

The grand jury report unsealed Monday concluded that there was no coordinated cover-up between the district administration and school board, finding that the board was “deliberately deprived of information regarding these incidents.”

School administrators were “looking out for their own interests instead of the best interests of” Loudoun County Public Schools in their response to the assaults, which led to a “stunning lack of openness, transparency and accountability both to the public and the special grand jury,” the report said.

Some parents criticized the board Wednesday for failing to heed previous calls for Mr. Ziegler‘s firing, which emerged last year after the first assault.

Ian Prior, executive director of Fight for Schools, said his organization urged the board to fire Mr. Ziegler at a press conference in October 2021.

“They chose to ignore,” Mr. Prior tweeted.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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