Over 500 FOIA requests filed by parents against Loudoun County School District over rape coverup

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LOUDOUN COUNTY, VA – Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS), which has faced widespread backlash and scrutiny covering up sexual assault in the district’s schools, is now dealing with hundreds of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed by district parents.

FIOA requests filed by parents seeking to gain information on sexual assaults in the schools has increased the yearly average of requests by five times. From 2012 to 2018, the average number of FOIA requests in the school district is about 90.

About 40 percent of the new FOIA requests have been filed on behalf of Fight for Schools, a watchdog group fighting for transparency from the school board.

School division Public Information Officer Wayde Byard said the requests have forced the district to double its staff to process the requests:

“LCPS is not seeking further resources at this time but has begun billing VFIOA requesters because it cannot handle the current volume free of charge.”

The school has begun billing for the requests and made headlines earlier in December when Byard informed Michelle Mege, an attorney and Loudoun County School District parent, that it would cost $36,000 to comply with her FOIA requests to produce all school district documents mentioning sexual assault and rape.

Mege has filed about 95 requests since March 8, according to records. One of the requests asked for specific sexual assault details at Stone Bridge High School for an incident on May 28 and another at Broad Run High School on Oct. 6.

Virginia FOIA law allows unlimited requests to be filed by an individual or entity but does allow for a reasonable fee which must be paid within 30 days of the request. If the fee is not paid, the public body does not have to fulfill the request.

Byard tried to justify the FOIA price tag, saying there were over 100,000 documents to review at an hourly retrieval rate of $72.15. He also estimated that the review and retrieval process would take approximately 500 hours to complete.

Parents descended on school board meetings this past year to protest the school’s teaching of critical race theory and revelations that the school had covered up two sexual assaults by a student.

Parents claim the cover-up was designed to permit the school board to institute a controversial transgender policy which would allow males to use female bathrooms and play in female sporting events.

Over 500 FOIA requests filed by parents against Loudoun County School District over rape coverup

In October, under mounting pressure from angry parents and students, Scott Ziegler, the superintendent of Virginia’s embattled Loudoun County School District, admitted the district had failed to protect students:

“First, let me say to the families and students involved — my heart aches for you and I am sorry that we failed to provide the safe, welcoming, and affirming environment that we aspire to provide.

“We acknowledge and share in your pain, and we will continue to offer support to help you and your families through this trauma. For all of our students, our school-based Unified Mental Health Teams are available to anyone who needs care.”

After Ziegler issued his statement, school board member Beth Barts resigned.

Her resignation came shortly before she was due to face a trial in the recall campaign against her, which is being led by Fight for Schools, a parent group known for its advocacy against Loudoun’s equity work.

The cover-up controversy came to light on Oct. 7, when a 15-year-old boy was charged with abduction, a felony charge, and sexual battery for an attack on a female student.

The juvenile was accused of touching a girl on her chest and private parts after he pulled her into an empty classroom at Broad Run High School in Loudoun County the day prior.

The boy had previously been found guilty on charges that he attacked a girl in the bathroom at Stone Bridge High School in May. The school district relocated him to Broad Run High School following the attack, without warning to students.

Virginia Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares (R) announced he plans to investigate the sexual assault incidents at Loudoun County Public Schools:

“We’re going to be seeking a legislative change (which) would essentially say if the chief law enforcement officer in a jurisdiction, either the chief of police or the sheriff, makes a request because the commonwealth’s attorney is not doing their job, then I’m going to do their job for them.”

Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin (R) has indicated he would sign such a bill into law.

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Loudoun student (who school officials covered for) pleads ‘no contest’ to second sexual assault

November 16, 2021

LOUDOUN COUNTY, VA – A 15-year-old boy previously found guilty of sexually assaulting a student at Stone Bridge High School in May has pleaded no contest to charges of sexually assaulting another girl in October in the same school district.

The juvenile was accused of touching a girl on her chest and private parts after he pulled her into an empty classroom at Broad Run High School in Loudoun County on Oct. 6.

On Oct. 7, the 15-year-old boy was charged with abduction, a felony charge, and sexual battery, a misdemeanor charge.

The teen pleaded no contest to both charges on Monday. Pleading no contests means the teen accepted the conviction but avoided admitting guilt in the case.

The boy had previously been found guilty on charges that he attacked a girl in the bathroom at Stone Bridge High School in May. He relocated to the other school in the same district after that May assault.

During Monday’s court hearing, the juvenile remained silent throughout the proceedings. He only commented “no. ma’am” when asked by the judge if he had any questions.

The unidentified teen’s mother would not comment on the incident, only saying after the hearing that her son has time to learn from his mistakes:

“He’s young, he has a lot of learning to do. I hope he’s given the opportunity to do so and prove he can do better and be better.”

As the court contemplates sentencing for both crimes, Loudoun County Commonwealth’s attorney Buta Biberaj said she wanted to await evaluations from the juvenile probation department and the results of a psychosexual evaluation before making any sentence recommendations:

‘All we have is the facts of the case, we don’t have the facts of the person.”

Sentencing is scheduled for December 13.

The father of the first victim, Scott Smith, made national headlines during a Loudoun County School Board meeting on June 22 when he raised the assault with school officials, who initially denied any assaults had occurred.

The school board was in the process of establishing a bathroom policy that would allow students to use the restroom that matched their gender identity rather than their biological gender.

The discussion between Smith and the school board became heated and Smith was forcibly removed from the meeting by order of the board. Video of the distraught father being dragged out of the room sparked outrage when it went viral on social media.

The incident resulted in calls for school Superintendent Scott Ziegler and members of the board to resign based on their lack of response to sexual assaults in the district. Ziegler initially denied there had been any reports of sexual assaults in the school bathrooms.

Following the pleading, Jessica Smith issued a statement:

“Today is not just another day for our family. It is a day that further vindicates my daughter against her attacker, holds him accountable for what he did, and helps advance the healing of both our daughter and our family from the suffering we have endured over these past months.

“What we have been going through should be a lesson for parents across the Commonwealth. And it should also serve as a call to action for all parents like us to stand up against local school boards that don’t put parents and their children first.”

In the latest incident, authorities said the boy, who was known to wear skirts to school, dragged a female student into an empty classroom. There, he held her for about ten minutes while touching her inappropriately.

Authorities said video cameras captured the boy forcing the female into the room, but there were no cameras inside the classroom.

The boy will be held in custody until his sentencing, and his attorney made no motions for release.

 Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”.  While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers.  And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.

And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”. 

 

 

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