Loudoun County, VA – Approximately 2,500 students participated in school walkouts before a group of angry parents descended on a Loudoun County school board meeting on Tuesday, demanding the superintendent and board members resign for allegedly trying to cover up a rape that occurred in a school bathroom in order to advance its transgender rights policy.
Scott Smith, 48, has accused Loudon County Public Schools (LCPS) and Stone Bridge High School officials of attempting to cover up the alleged May 28 rape of his daughter in order to advance the transgender rights policy it was pushing at the time, FOX News reported.
The school board ultimately passed the new policy in August, months after school officials were made aware Smith’s ninth-grade daughter was raped in a school bathroom by a 15-year-old gender-fluid boy wearing a skirt.
Smith’s attorney, Elizabeth Lancaster, said the rapist was subsequently charged with two counts of forcible sodomy, one count of forcible fellatio, and one count of anal sodomy, according to The Daily Wire.
He was convicted of those charges on Monday, WTOP reported.
The teen who raped Smith’s daughter allegedly struck again at another school in the district on Oct. 6, according to FOX News.
The second incident, which occurred at Broad Run High School, involved allegations the teen forced another female student “into an empty classroom where he held her against her will and inappropriately touched her,” the LCSO said in a press release.
The victim immediately reported the assault to a LCSO school resource officer.
The suspect was arrested on abduction and sexual battery charges, according to the sheriff’s office.
The LCSO has confirmed the same suspect is tied to both incidents, WJLA reported.
When Smith confronted the school board about the attack on his daughter during a public board meeting on June 22, LCPS Superintendent Scott Ziegler denied having “any record” of any assaults occurring in a LCPS bathroom, WJLA reported.
But according to an e-mail that surfaced last week, Ziegler actually alerted the rest of the board about the May 28 sexual assault approximately one month prior to his public denial, FOX News reported.
Outraged parents and community members converged on the school board meeting on Tuesday, demanding the board and Ziegler be held responsible for the coverup.
"Do us a favor and resign": Loudoun County parents ripped the school board last night. pic.twitter.com/qTkLhsvqP3
— MRCTV (@mrctv) October 27, 2021
“You have buried a sexual assault to protect your precious 8040 [pro-transgender] policy,” declared Carrie Michon, whose grandchildren attend LCPS. “Every last one of you, resign!”
Loudon County GOP Women’s Club President Patti Hidalgo Menders said the board was “so concerned with pushing race and gender” that they “sacrificed our children,” FOX News reported.
“A girl was sexually assaulted in May, and you all knew about it,” Menders said. “The predator was put back in schools to sexually assault another girl. You all should be fired.”
The demonstration came just hours after as many as 2,500 LCPS students staged a walkout in protest of how the district has failed to prioritize their safety, according to The Washington Post.
Video from the Loudoun County walkout this morning pic.twitter.com/8TUN3INOvu
— Logan Ratick (@Logan_Ratick) October 26, 2021
Here is the walk out of students at @LCPSOfficial Broad Run High School in Loudoun County. Students in support of recent sex assault victims in the District including this school & asking for safer schools. @7NewsDC #7NewsITeam #Loudoun pic.twitter.com/CdZjqTBIdK
— Scott Taylor 7 News I-Team (@ScottTaylorTV) October 26, 2021
Ziegler issued an apology on Oct. 15 after outraged parents first started demanding his resignation, WJLA reported.
“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,” Ziegler said during a press conference. “We acknowledge and share in your pain and we will continue to offer support to help you and your families through this trauma.”
Ziegler then noted that “Title IX directs how schools must investigate allegations of sexual harassment/assault and provides equal protection for both victims and the alleged perpetrators,” WJLA reported.
The superintendent said he believes more can be done to protect victims and that the Title IX protocols are insufficient, WTTG reported.
Smith said that after reporting the May 28 incident, his family was led to believe the suspect wouldn’t be allowed in school until after the case was adjudicated.
They were stunned to learn the alleged rapist was simply moved to another school.
Smith said Ziegler’s statement was the “first acknowledgement” his family has received that LCPS is “in fact responsible for their bad decision-making and policies that resulted in the two sexual assaults that happened in our high schools,” WTTG reported.
“Whether they end up being accountable to doing better by children and their parents or not, time will tell,” he continued. “This is not a situation solved by the words ‘I am sorry’, but it is a start to keeping all children safe at our schools.”
The Stanley Law Group, which is representing Smith’s family, blasted Ziegler for his “continued insistence that somehow the schools and the administration are not at fault for their conduct that led to the horrific sexual assault” on Smith’s daughter, WTTG reported.
“It is completely unacceptable and outrageous for Dr. Ziegler to blame the federal government’s Title IX protocols for the treatment of the Smith’s daughter and the subsequent sexual assault of yet another LCPS student,” the law firm’s statement read. “This demonstrates a cluelessness that explains the notoriety Loudoun County Public Schools have obtained over the last several months.”
The attorneys accused LCPS of prioritizing “misguided policies of political correctness over student safety,” and said the case should serve as a cautionary tale for other public school systems.
Despite the fact that school officials said they reported the first alleged rape to law enforcement on May 28, the LCPS school board denied having any knowledge about the incident when Smith confronted them during a June 22 public board meeting, FOX News reported.
“We don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms,” Ziegler declared during the meeting.
A local activist then accused Smith’s daughter of lying about the alleged attack, at which point Smith flew into a rage, FOX News reported.
He ended up being tackled to the ground by deputies and dragged outside, according to the New York Post.
Smith was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct and was sentenced to 10 days suspended on Aug. 10.
He is appealing the conviction and is scheduled to go to court again in March of 2022, the New York Post reported.
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) sent a letter to the White House on Sept. 29 declaring Smith’s “heinous actions” during the school board meeting were “equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes,” the New York Post reported.
Smith’s case was just one of many examples the NSBA included in the letter.
The group alleged the incidents are evidence that “America’s public schools and its education leaders are under an immediate threat” from a “growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation occurring across the nation,” according to the New York Post.
“Immediate assistance is required,” the NSBA implored. “NSBA specifically solicits the expertise and resources of the US Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), US Department of Homeland Security, US Secret Service, and its National Threat Assessment Center.”