Days after it said it wouldn’t release the report from an investigation of its handling of repeated sexual assaults in high schools, the School Board announced several staffing and procedural changes in response to the scandal that attracted nationwide attention.
Chief Human Resources Officer Lisa Boland was announced as the new interim Title IX coordinator.
In a statement sent by division spokesman Wayde Byard, the administration said it has taken “additional appropriate personnel actions after consultation with the School Board.”
The statement said the division has “created a more robust process for alternative school placements to better serve students who may pose a safety risk to themselves or others.”
Additionally, administrators took mandatory training on reporting of disciplinary data to the Department of Education. Ongoing mandatory training will be provided to all school administrators to ensure staff members know how to handle harassment and assault.
The statement also outlines other steps that are planned, including making revisions to the Memorandum of Understanding with the Sheriff’s Office to better coordinate investigations and reporting. It said the division will hire a full-time Title IX coordinator and an investigative staff for reported violations of Title IX. There will be a senior administration-level review of every potential harassment and discrimination claim made over the past year to ensure Title IX processes were followed.
The statement said that the School Board will regularly update the public on the progress of the initiatives during meetings.
The statement also doubled down on the division’s refusal to release the findings of the investigation conducted by the law firm Blankingship & Keith, P.C. after a student charged with sexually assaulting a student in a high school was transferred to another high school where he sexually assaulted a second student. It said that the privacy of the families involved must be protected and that national interest in the investigation would “preclude any chance of allowing the families to heal and move forward with dignity.”
This week, the assailant sentenced to supervised probation in a residential facility until he is 18 years old. He is also required to register as a sex offender for life. Superintendent Scott Ziegler previously blamed shortcomings of Title IX protocols as the reason assailant was allowed to transfer schools following the first assault.
Although privacy is the reason cited for not releasing the report, the division will not share the findings, even with names and identifiable information redacted.
“As a Board, we take these issues seriously. We seek ongoing engagement from the Loudoun County Public Schools community as we move forward to ensure our Division has the processes and accountability measures in place to protect the health, safety and well-being of our students,” the statement reads.