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A Virginia superintendent is fired after a state report into handling of sexual assaults at school is issued

<i>Leah Millis/Reuters</i><br/>People gather to protest different issues including the board's handling of a sexual assault that happened in a school bathroom in May 2021.
Leah Millis/Reuters
People gather to protest different issues including the board's handling of a sexual assault that happened in a school bathroom in May 2021.

By Tavleen Tarrant, CNN

A Virginia school superintendent was fired Tuesday, a day after a report from the state accused him of lying about a sexual assault involving a student in May 2021.

The special grand jury report, conducted by the office of Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares, also criticized former school superintendent Dr. Scott Ziegler and other school officials for mishandling the investigation of an October sexual assault allegedly by the same student that year.

The superintendent said of the May sexual assault “to my knowledge we don’t have any records of assaults occurring in our restrooms,” at a June 2021 school board meeting, according to the report. At the time, Ziegler said he misunderstood the question.

The Loudoun County Public School Board voted unanimously to fire Ziegler Tuesday night, but provided no reason for the firing, school spokesman Wayde Byard told CNN.

“The Special Grand Jury’s report contains important recommendations and information,” Miyares said in a statement to CNN Wednesday. “I’m glad to see that the school board is taking the report seriously, and hope it results in positive change for the LCPS community.”

CNN has attempted to reach Ziegler for comment. Byard would not comment further regarding allegations into LCPS mishandling of the sexual assault cases outlined in the special grand jury report.

A teenage student had been arrested for sexual battery and abduction of another student at a Loudoun County public school in October 2021, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said, according to the report.

The teenager also allegedly sexually assaulted another student in May 2021, according to the report. In that assault, the grand jury report alleged that the sexual assault occurred in a women’s bathroom while the perpetrator was wearing a skirt.

“National outrage focused on Loudoun County because the student was labeled as gender fluid, LCPS had recently passed a transgender policy to conform with the Virginia Department of Education’s model policy,” said the report.

CNN could not find evidence substantiating that the student identified as transgender or gender-fluid.

The 2021 Virginia Department of Education’s Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools outlined that transgender students should be allowed to use bathrooms and staff should use the personal pronouns that were most consistent with their gender identity.

In 2022, under Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, the Department of Education replaced the policy with an updated one stating that students should use bathrooms according to his or her sex.

On his first day in office on January 15, Youngkin passed an executive order authorizing an investigation of Loudoun County Public Schools by the Attorney General. Youngkin had mentioned the sexual assault cases at Loudoun schools several times while campaigning for governor.

“The special grand jury’s report on the horrific sexual assaults in Loudoun has exposed wrongdoing, prompted disciplinary actions, & provided families with the truth. I will continue to empower parents & push for accountability on behalf of our students,” Youngkin tweeted Wednesday.

™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Zenebou Sylla contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: cnn-national

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