Explosive grand jury report leads Loudon County school board to fire superintendent

The Loudon County, Virginia school board fired superintendent Scott Ziegler Tuesday night following a grand jury report that detailed his failures in handling two sexual assaults in the district’s high schools, the Washington Examiner reported.

The report said that Ziegler and other school administrators “failed at every juncture” and that the second assault could have been prevented if the first one was handled properly.

The report read:

We believe that throughout this ordeal, LCPS administrators were looking out for their own interests instead of the best interests of LCPS. This invariably led to a stunning lack of openness, transparency and accountability, both to the public and to the special grand jury. There were several decision points for senior LCPS administrators, up to and including the superintendent, to be transparent and step in and alter the sequence of events leading up to the October 6, 2021 Broad Run High School sexual assault. They failed at every juncture.

Unanimous vote

The report led to a unanimous vote by the board in the closed-door meeting.

While the report did not include any indictments, it did detail a June 2021 board meeting where Ziegler denied knowledge of any assaults in school bathrooms.

The report said his statement was a “bald-faced lie” and asserted that Ziegler did know about the assault by a transgender, biologically male student at Stone Bridge High School at the time of the meeting, during which the victim’s father shouted at board members and administrators.

Both assaults were committed by the same student, who was then transferred from one high school to another without any consequences.

How Ziegler even managed to keep his job for over a year after that board meeting is unfathomable.

More accountability needed

Executive director of the political action committee Fight for Schools Ian Prior told the Examiner that his organization was “pleased” with the decision to fire Ziegler, who he said had “put children at risk due to his utterly reckless conduct,” but Prior also said that more accountability was needed.

“[Ziegler] was not the only bad actor identified in the special grand jury report, and we will continue to demand the full leadership and culture changes that the special grand jury recommended,” Prior said.

Prior said that the school board’s “credibility and legacy” have been destroyed by its slow response to parental demands to fire Ziegler last year and failure to hold an independent investigation into the assaults and district response.

School district fought investigation

Part of the report detailed a lawsuit by the district to have the grand jury disbanded, which did not succeed.

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares took notice of the special grand jury in a Monday statement, calling it the “epitome of professionalism.”

“In the face of intense public speculation, the members were incredibly engaged, worked tirelessly, and spent countless days away from their families and jobs to conduct a thorough investigation into Loudoun County Public Schools,” Miyares said. “I encourage everyone to read their report, and look forward to the positive change in LCPS resulting from their work.”