Ziegler Blames Handling of Repeat Alleged Assaults on Title IX Protocols, Previous Administration; Promises Change

Superintendent Scott Ziegler, joined by administrators and School Board chairwoman Brenda Sheridan (Sterling) said today that the district handled two recent sexual assault allegations in compliance with Title IX, but the process was insufficient to address the issues.

“It has become very clear that our administrative procedures have not kept pace with the growth we have seen in our county. While informal protocols and school-based autonomy may work in small and medium-sized school divisions they are simply not sufficient in a county with 82,000 students,” Ziegler said.

The school district came under fire this week when news surfaced that a Stone Bridge High School student who had allegedly raped a girl in a bathroom on May 28 was transferred to Broad Run High School before a law enforcement investigation was completed, where he allegedly assaulted a different student on Oct. 7.

The district has not commented on specifics surrounding either incident, both of which are under investigation by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office.

Currently Loudoun County Public Schools does not begin an investigation until involved law enforcement agencies conclude their investigations. The district also does not take action against a student until it conducts its own investigation.

It is unclear where the alleged assailant was placed in school after the initial incident.

“Recent events have also revealed that we have shortcoming in alternative placement options for students involved in serious discipline infractions,” Ziegler said.

He said that his administration will fast-track changes to the process to assign alternative placements for students involved in discipline infractions that “protect the safety of the student body and the rights of the accused.”

Ziegler said that the lack of oversight in the safety and disciplinary processes existed prior to his tenure. Earlier this week, it was reported that the school district had omitted sexual assaults in the safety statistics it provides to the Virginia Department of Education. 

“I have no reason to believe at this time that any missing reports were due to an intent to hide any information from the Virginia Department of Education,” he said.

Loudoun Nowhas reached out to both former superintendent Eric Williams and his former chief of staff, Nyah Hamlett. Neither responded with immediate comment. 

Ziegler also pointed to comments during the June 22 board meeting that suggested that no assaults had occurred in bathrooms. During a discussion about then-proposed Policy 8040, Beth Barts (Leesburg) had asked Ziegler if there had been any incidents in bathrooms. Ziegler said in his statement that he didn’t intend to be misleading in his answer during that meeting, and that he thought Barts’ question was only about incidents involving transgender students.

Ziegler and Sheridan were joined by his chief of staff Mark Smith, Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Services Asia Jones and Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Ashley Ellis. Ziegler did not take questions from the press.

13 thoughts on “Ziegler Blames Handling of Repeat Alleged Assaults on Title IX Protocols, Previous Administration; Promises Change

  • 2021-10-15 at 3:30 pm

    This man is a liar. Proven by his own words captured on video of the meeting.
    Ziegler must go. NOW.

    The search for a superintendent conducted by the School Board was a sham. Nothing more than a back door deal which inserted a lackey into arguably the most critical role in Loudoun County government.

    We need a house cleaning at “Education” Court.

  • 2021-10-15 at 3:33 pm

    Apparently the Loudoun County Predatory Schools decided the county needed an even worse organization than the Washington Football Team and it’s toxic culture. Why are Loudoun’s organizational cultures so deplorable?

  • 2021-10-15 at 3:37 pm

    A lot of words….why was there no crime scene set up on may 28?

    Someone or many need to go.

  • 2021-10-15 at 4:18 pm

    First – after hearing the exact question asked – only on advice of counsel could someone come up with a misunderstanding in my opinion. Why aren’t ALL assaults regardless of victim reported to the school board?

    Second – The availability of Douglas School as an alternative for troubled students and students in trouble has been around for DECADES! Are you serious about not knowing?

    Third – THIS IS EMBARRASSING! As a former two term school board member I am getting calls from around the country asking me if this is the same school board I was on – it isn’t! 🙂

  • 2021-10-15 at 4:45 pm

    I’m glad Dr. Ziegler has addressed concerns about the Stone Bridge & Broad Run incidents. He seems to be making clear that a Trans student wasn’t involved. Maybe that will relieve some of the concerns about Policy 8040. I just hope everyone withholds judgment until more facts become known. Chair Randall is taking a hard look into the situation which makes me feel better. I extend my deepest thoughts & prayers to the alleged victims & their families.

  • 2021-10-15 at 5:12 pm

    “Recent events have also revealed that we have shortcoming in alternative placement options for students involved in serious discipline infractions,” Ziegler said.

    WHAT? We have a whole school program for that, it is called Douglass – Alternative Education Program at the North Star School in Leesburg (it was at Douglass school). Most teachers and students know that Douglass was for problem cases. I guess he did not read the memo.

    So Ziegler does not even know we have a program let alone a whole building for problem High Schoolers. Time for him to go !!!

    Ziegler should be charged with facilitating sexual assault since he did not take reasonable precautions and send the alleged perp to Douglass.

  • 2021-10-15 at 5:32 pm

    Tired of cover-ups, lies, evasion of responsibility, and policies that put children in danger. Both Ziegler and Sheridan should resign and, depending on the results an independent investigation, face charges for criminal neglect of their duty to protect our children.

  • 2021-10-15 at 6:27 pm

    Blaming the system is a cowards excuse. Ziegler needs to resign.

  • 2021-10-16 at 7:15 am

    Should we bring up the bungled job Zigler and Williams did with the assault at Tuscarora in October 2018?
    Ziegler needs to go. Blames Trump, good grief he is reaching deep in the play book.
    He can’t do his job and is a proven liar! He needs to hire Charlie King and we will get him out.

  • 2021-10-16 at 4:50 pm

    I’d have more tolerance for this group supposedly fighting for parents if it wasn’t the same old folks you saw holding signs protesting masks a year or so ago, or several of the other so-called “spontaneous” protests of various issues that always align with the wing-nut pole of the Republican party. Trumpers like Geary Higgins who’s in the background at everyone of these sorts of events. These are out-of-power political hacks that want badly to trash everything in hopes that they can get back in power. Sad but that’s the time we live in.

    • 2021-10-18 at 9:36 am

      LoveLoudoun, I’ve been showing up at school board meetings for more than two years now, speaking out against books that sexualize our children and teens (as if there isn’t enough hyper-sexual messaging hitting our kids — do we really need it at school, too?) and the rest of the dumpster-fire that is LCPS. I can tell you that the parents like me speaking out are absolutely “spontaneous.” Last year’s Covid closures exposed LCPS like nothing else. Parents feel compelled to turn out and voice their opinions. Shame on you for denouncing us as “wing-nut pole” Republicans. We are parents and taxpayers. I don’t want any power — I just want schools to stop indoctrinating. And as for masks… if you’re still wearing that little piece of useless cloth over your face, you are part of the problem and you’re creating fear and anxiety among our children. The virus is 99.97 survivable — I have friends and family with diabetes, blocked arteries, obesity, etc… who’ve all had it and did fine. I’m hoping that as more and more people see giant stadiums full of people and going about their normal lives that the fear will ease.

  • 2021-10-18 at 2:18 pm

    It’s midday on Monday. Shouldn’t Ziegler have resigned by now?

    We don’t care about your lame excuse and finger pointing. You were caught lying. And you were in charge of the school system that protected a sexual predator. You need to go.

    Do it for the children.

  • 2021-10-19 at 4:02 pm

    Even as a former high school teacher, it wasn’t until this debacle that I came to realize the far reaching impact of the School Board. Allow me to encourage a magnifying refocus on these *community service members,* and strive to be far more selective in the future.

    Mark Twain is said to have imparted this jewel: “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Well, it would now seem that many upstanding community members have decided to ‘get their shoes on,’ and deal with the school board’s egregious neglect of students. Kudos to these parents and community members who have laced up!

    There are those who have far too much time on their hands, who will ramble and rant about ‘agendas,’ ‘the far right,’ and ‘Trumpers,’ but surely the one thing on which we can all agree is that we embrace the safety and protection of students in our schools.

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