Scott Ziegler, former superintendent of the Loudoun County (Virginia) school district, has been found guilty of using his position for retaliation in connection with his firing of a special-education teacher.
WTOP News reports that the charge stemmed from Ziegler’s decision not to renew the contract of elementary school teacher Erin Brooks for the 2021-22 school year. Ziegler was accused of making that decision in retaliation for her testimony before a special grand jury. That panel was investigating the school system’s handling of two sexual assaults by a high school student in 2021.
Ziegler was found not guilty on a lesser charge, punishing an employee for attending court.
The allegations involving Brooks did not directly relate to the 2021 sexual assaults. Brooks told the panel she’d been groped repeatedly by a 10-year-old student and when she asked for help, school administrators gave her a piece of cardboard to deflect the boy’s grabbing and links to aprons to buy online.
A school principal testified that the student who grabbed Brooks had autism, was nonverbal and had “the cognitive understanding of a toddler,” and that his grabbing was not intended to harm, but to get attention.
The special grand jury went on to issue a scathing report in December 2022, and the school board later fired Ziegler shortly after that.
Ziegler faces another misdemeanor, apparently relating to statements he made at a June 2021 school board meeting after the first of the two sexual assaults by a student in 2021. A trial on that charge is scheduled for February.