A Virginia school board fired its superintendent Tuesday night, more than a year after The Daily Wire revealed that he lied about the rape of a female student in a girls restroom even as he pushed for a controversial transgender bathroom policy, and one day after a special grand jury corroborated its findings.
The Loudoun County school board voted unanimously to sack Scott Ziegler “without cause,” meaning that according to his contract, he will be paid a golden parachute worth some $350,000, according to Loudoun Now, which noted that the board had given Ziegler a $28,000 raise in July.
That’s despite a grand jury finding that, at a meeting a month after the rape in which board members debated a policy that would allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice, Ziegler dismissed safety concerns.
“To my knowledge we don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms,” Ziegler said, although he was well aware that weeks earlier a skirt-wearing boy had been accused of raping a girl in a high school bathroom.
The principal of the high school where the attack occurred later testified that the superintendent’s statement was not true and another witness called it a “bald-faced lie,” according to the grand jury report.
The school system’s communications arm — which the grand jury revealed ordered staff to “TAKE NO ACTION” in response to The Daily Wire’s October 2021 inquiry informing it of its findings — similarly did not return a request for comment on the firing. The Daily Wire had also requested a copy of Ziegler’s employment contract and information on whether any action would be taken against Division Counsel Robert Falconi, who the grand jury also found at fault.
After the grand jury report was released Monday, a statement attributed to school board chair Jeff Morse and vice chair Ian Serotkin said they were “pleased” that the grand jury has not indicted anyone, even though the report painted a devastating picture and found that “throughout this ordeal LCPS administrators were looking out for their own interests instead of the best interests of LCPS.”
By Tuesday night at a meeting of the county’s other governing body, the Board of Supervisors, Democrats turned against their colleagues on the school board, with Supervisor Kristen Umstattd condemning school officials and board members for taking a “victory lap,” which she called “callous,” Loudoun Now reported.
“Let me say this as clearly as possible: Dr. Scott Ziegler needs to be fired,” Board of supervisors chair Phyllis Randall, a Democrat, said. “We had a young woman violently raped and another one assaulted, and this was for all intents and purposes, on his part, a coverup.”
Soon after, the school board, meeting separately, fired Ziegler.
On May 22, 2021, a male student wearing a skirt anally raped a ninth-grade girl in a girls bathroom at Stone Bridge High School, shortly before the school board was to vote on the transgender bathroom policy. The school did not disclose that incident publicly, nor a second sexual assault committed in a classroom by the same perpetrator on October 6. School board members only learned that the same person was behind both when The Daily Wire broke the story October 11, the report said. The second assault “could have, and should have, been prevented,” grand jurors found.
The special grand jury, which was convened pursuant to an order from Gov. Glenn Youngkin and Attorney General Jason Miyares, said it was “met with obfuscation, deflection, and obvious legal strategies designed to frustrate the special grand jury’s work,” and blamed Falconi.
“Unlike federal law, no Virginia statute explicitly addresses witness tampering, and the Virginia obstruction of justice statute does not cover this fact pattern. For those reasons, we were unable to consider an indictment against the LCPS division counsel,” the grand jury wrote.
Scott Smith, the father of the rape victim, told The Daily Wire that “Firing Ziegler is a good first step, though it should have been done in October of 2021. However, justice will be denied until everyone whose egregious and reckless conduct was detailed in that report is terminated as well. That includes the Deputy Superintendent, Division Counsel, school board members and the other unnamed actors whose actions put our child and everyone else’s child at risk.”
Of the grand jury report, he said “The grand jury report is thorough, however, it has no teeth holding anyone accountable by name at the moment.”
But he said that a criminal standard is not the only one that applies. “There’s gonna be civil lawsuits. We’ll be filing a Title IX lawsuit in Alexandria federal court,” he said.
14 months ago, @lukerosiak uncovered Loudoun County's coverup of sexual assaults by a skirt-wearing boy, and a top official ordered staff to ignore his claims. Tonight, the Loudoun County School Board fired superintendent Scott Ziegler after a grand jury confirmed his reporting. pic.twitter.com/UHIXFhp3y5
— Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) December 7, 2022