Polifko

School Board member Tiffany Polifko (Broad Run) at the Jan. 24 meeting. Polifko and John Beatty (Catoctin) asked for a date to be set to release the independent report the school board had done to investigate two sexual assaults in 2021. 

School Board members Tiffany Polifko (Broad Run) and John Beatty (Catoctin) asked for a date for the independent report on two sexual assaults at division schools to be released, requesting for it to be as soon as February. 

Polifko said as the board discussed the recommendations provided in the grand jury report at a Dec. 13 work session, the majority of the board commented at that time about possibly releasing the report. 

The school district refused to release the report, even with redactions, citing an exemption to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act for attorney-client privilege. The exemption is optional; it will be up to a majority vote of the board to release it to the public.

One of the recommendations in a Special Grand Jury report on school district’s handling of those assault was for greater transparency and “limiting the degree to which public matters and information of public concern are shielded from the public under the cloak of attorney-client privilege.” 

“Constituents are asking for transparency and have been requesting this report for over one year, and their frustration and lack of trust grows daily,” Polifko said. “Board members are elected to represent the public body of stakeholders who fund and attend the schools. Constituents are communicating their desire for us to take the helm and act as leaders.”

She said last year, as a parent, she attended a school board meeting after the second assault happened at Broad Run High School. She said she will never forget hearing a father speak at that meeting where he said he and his wife tell their daughters to “hold it” at school instead of going to the bathroom. 

“I will never forget that. I am a School Board member now and I am asking us as a board to display the leadership that this community needs to see,” she said.  

Polifko asked for a specific date for the School Board to vote on releasing the report, “a goal without a wish is just a dream and the public should be able to rely on the board as a group of leaders to provide them with finality related to this tumultuous series of events.”

Beatty echoed Polifko’s thoughts and said it was his intention that the report be released back when the board decided to conduct the independent report.

“I think it’s unfortunate that it hasn’t been. At this point I think there is nothing that should be stopping us from releasing it and so I look forward to working with my colleagues to get that out as soon as possible,” he said.

Chair Ian Serotkin (Blue Ridge) said the report was prepared for the school board by a law firm in anticipation of litigation and it is “wholly covered by attorney client privilege,” and waiving that privilege and releasing it in some form raises “complex questions beyond just the contents of the report itself.” He said it sets a precedent for other elected officials and impacts open communication between the school board and its attorneys. 

He said as a result of the renewed interest in releasing the report after new details emerged in the special grand jury report, the School Board asked a law office, “one that had never worked with LCPS in any capacity previously,” to provide legal guidance on the best course of action.  

Serotkin said they expect to receive that legal advice in early February and could make a decision about releasing it after that time. 

Beatty and Polifko requested it be put on the Feb. 14 School Board meeting agenda so the board could vote on whether to release it.  

(11) comments

Weevil

Sad that we have a couple of school board members who want to exploit political divisions to further their own careers--rather than selflessly focusing on improving the schools for all our students. Harkens back to when Richard Black was destroying the library board to make a name for himself...

cjh1

I'll tell ya what's sad, people sticking up for board members who are intentionally withholding information from the public because it might harm their chances for reelection. Information that could help prevent another sexual abuse incident. And if there is another incident and that report has not been release and any of the facts are similar those people on the board opposed to waiving attorney-client privilege will have to live with that for the rest of their lives. But hey, what's the big deal, it would only be sexual violence against a young girl. Right Weevil?

java1981

Don't be surprised that they withhold releasing the report until after the next SB elections. Then they will release it. All political theater, and they know that if released before the elections that it could hurt them. Hopefully, the people in Loudoun will wake up and see this and vote these clowns out and not just vote for them again because of political purposes. We need fresh faces on this board regardless of political leanings..

java1981

Beatty trying to jump on the band wagon. He was there when this happened and thus must be voted out just as all other members that were sitting during this scandal broke should be voted out. We need more Polifko's on the board. What are they so afraid of?

cjh1

I think we all know what will happen. It's all set up now. The law firm will recommend that attorney-client privilege not be waived and with that a majority will vote to not waive. And that will be their cover. I've never seen a lower quality group of people. Loudoun County, is this the best we can do? Great job by Tiffany Poliftko putting this one the agenda. They want to improve transparency and build trust my ash. Vote them out!

Ohneiser - Attorney - At - Law

"Safe Schools" has been the bragging point of LCPS for decades yet the school board still reuses to command the Superintendent to release a report of ALL bullying, assaults etc. Just scrub the identity of the student and tell the truth. Parents need to know how much oof this violence is being tolerated and covered up so instead of a mere sales pitch it is actually a safe school their child is enrolled in.

RJones

What's the matter with the board members that don't want to release it? Attorney client privilege? What are you board members afraid of? Mr. Serotkin forgets he didn't personally pay for the report, the Loudoun taxpayers did. So new superintendent just release the report.

disappointedloudouner

Last week the Superintendent wants to build trust and this week he forgot about his promise. The LCPS board and administration has proven again they are not worthy of our trust.

timsmith

I don't fault Tiffany Polifko for reiterating her plea to release the B&K Report. But why did she have to introduce Transphobia into the equation? During her impassioned plea, she bemoaned the fact of Trans-inclusive restrooms within LCPS. C'mon Ms. Polifko. What does that have to do with anything? If a student doesn't want to share a restroom with a Trans person, there are plenty of single-user restrooms throughout LCPS. I think Ms. Polifko weakened her plea by expressing such ridiculous sentiments. Please do better!

kronos

Non-sequitur.

Dragon

"Plenty of single-user restrooms throughout LCPS" - this leads to the basic question of how do you define "plenty?" What are the actual numbers of single-user restrooms by school throughout the LCPS? It is inappropriate to use a term like "plenty" without providing the actual numbers. Let's be candid, public schools are not like they were back in the late 60's/early 70's. My HS principal's nickname was "The Sheriff" and the local PD's number was on speed dial in the event of assaults or other crimes. Principals did not make arbitrary and capricious decisions about what to report. Even though I don't have any family members participating in the LCPS, my tax dollars for the past 16 years have been supporting this system so I want to see the report. Attorney-client privilege is a bunch of nonsense in this case. Once it involved our tax dollars, it's a matter of public concern.

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