Editor: In 2007, Pastor John Caldwell published a widely read book called “Raising "G" Rated Kids in an "R" Rated World.”
My wife and I never felt a need to read it because we were pretty much raising our kids “G” rated, and with help from the Loudoun County Public Schools, where they attended from first grade to high school.
Until the current School Board came to power in January 2020, there was no tolerance for sexually explicit stuff in the schools—homosexual or heterosexual. I never feared for my kids' safety at school, nor sexual predators (be they students or teachers).
We had an excellent superintendent, Edgar Hatrick, who was educated in the system and had been a principal at Loudoun County High School.
Today, however, this rogue School Board seems to want to make kids "X-rated" to acquiesce to an X-rated world.
I read, cover to cover, the recent grand jury report on the sexual assaults in 2021 and while it kind of acquits the School Board, the reality is that the tone set by changes in policy to allow dirty books in libraries and boys to use girls bathrooms and vice versa, was probably paramount in the mind of school administrators and staff in coddling a then 14-year-old sexual predator, who raped one girl at Stone Bridge, was foolishly transferred to Broad Run High School, where he tried to rape another girl.
A former employee of one school who I spoke with said schools staff were probably afraid to expel this kid or put him into the program for at-risk troubled youth (currently at the North Star School in Leesburg) because the School Board's direction was to go light on LGBTQ students, and this boy was apparently in that protected category, despite committing heterosexual rape. In addition, it should be noted that Virginia's Democrat-controlled General Assembly in 2020 relieved principals from reporting sexual assaults of a certain degree (bill repealed in 2022) and so, laxity has prevailed.
And, it’s important to remember Loudoun School Board and Board of Supervisors is Democrat-controlled, and they have spent much of the past year denouncing the grand jury probe led by Republican Attorney General Jason Miyares. In fact, the School Board went to court several times to quash the grand jury.
But when the grand jury findings came out, it became trouble for these Democrats, who could no longer defend the indefensible. One by one at the Dec. 6 meeting, I watched supervisors denounce what occurred, urged the firing of Superintendent Scott Ziegler (which happened at the School Board that evening), and showed pity for the two girls who were assaulted.
In my view, the county supervisors needs to put their money where their big mouths are. If they feel the girls need counseling, then pay for it. Offer more than just words of sympathy in the media.
Better yet, the board can do what Ana Quijano, a candidate for Ashburn supervisor suggested at the School Board's Dec. 6 public comment period, and order an audit of LCPS.
For one, this independent audit can obtain the secret report on the assaults LCPS refused to release to the public and find out why the assailant was never put in North Star for help. It can look at the LCPS Title IX program, too. The county funds the schools so has the power under state law to audit LCPS for anything it wants to. We cannot depend solely on the grand jury, which is looking solely at criminality.
The new superintendent needs to clean house and if he doesn’t, I suggest seeing if Dr. Hatrick is willing to come back on an interim basis and restore integrity to LCPS, even as a paid consultant. It’s vital the parents of Loudoun also elect a new School Board in 2023 that will seek to keep children G-rated; even if they come out PG-rated would be a blessing.
Ken Reid, McLean
[The writer previously served on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and the Leesburg Town Council.]