The Loudoun County (Va.) school board has fired superintendent Scott Ziegler shortly after the release of a state grand jury report that chastised school leaders for their handling last year of two sexual assaults by the same student.
The Washington Post reports that Ziegler and district officials have faced intense criticism for their response to the sexual assaults, which took place in May and October of 2021. Officials transferred the student assailant from one high school, where he assaulted a student in a girls’ bathroom, to another high school, where he assaulted another student in a classroom.
The grand jury report said district administrators "were looking out for their own interests instead of the best interests of [the district]."
"There were several decision points for senior [district] administrators, up to and including the superintendent, to be transparent and step in and alter the sequence of events leading up to [the October] sexual assault," the grand jury said. "They failed at every juncture."
The panel concluded that Ziegler was told about the May assault on the day it happened, but that he later lied about his knowledge of it during a June 22, 2021, board meeting. When asked by a board member that day whether the district has records of “assaults in our bathrooms or in our locker rooms regularly,” Ziegler replied with a falsehood, the report states.
The grand jury concluded that Loudoun administrators badly mismanaged the sexual assaults because of incompetence and a lack of interest. But the grand jury also found there was no “coordinated coverup” of the assaults, as some had alleged.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin issued an executive order earlier this year authorizing an investigation by the state attorney general, and a special grand jury was empaneled.
Ziegler had served as interim superintendent of the 81,000-student school system for about half a year before being named to the permanent position in June 2021. A former special-education and social studies teacher, he began working for the Loudoun school system in 2019, as assistant superintendent for human resources and talent development.