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Statement from the Loudoun County School Board

 

The Loudoun County School Board released the following statement today:

 

The Loudoun County School Board is committed to creating a safe, affirming and welcoming environment by implementing improved processes to protect every student. Loudoun County Public Schools has taken action, and will continue to take action, responsive to the concerns raised by the sexual assaults in LCPS in order to further protect our students from sexual assault and strengthen Division practices regarding harassment and discrimination under Title IX.  Specifically, LCPS has:

  • Appointed a new Interim Title IX Coordinator;
  • Taken additional appropriate personnel actions after consultation with the School Board;
  • Created a more robust process for alternative school placements to better serve students who may pose a safety risk to themselves or others; and
  • Provided additional mandatory training for LCPS administrators regarding the timely reporting of disciplinary data to the Virginia Department of Education.

 

Moving forward, LCPS will take the following additional actions: 

  • Review and recommend revisions to the Division’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office to better coordinate investigation and reporting;
  • Expand the size and scope of the Title IX office by hiring a full-time Title IX Coordinator and additional investigative staff to increase capacity in processing allegations and complaints;
  • Conduct a senior administration-level review of every potential harassment and discrimination complaint made over the past 12 months to ensure that all Title IX processes were followed and complaints were appropriately addressed and take corrective action where appropriate; and
  • Provide additional mandatory training to all school administrators to reinforce the understanding of their obligations regarding allegations of sexual harassment and assault. 

 

The School Board will share ongoing updates with the community on the progress of these action steps at every regular meeting of the School Board until they are complete.  

 

The School Board will not publicly release the report provided by Blankingship & Keith, P.C. regarding how the Loudoun County Public Schools handled these incidents.

 

First and foremost, the report cannot be released because the privacy of the families involved must be protected. The national interest in this investigation would preclude any chance of allowing the families to heal in private and to move forward with dignity. The Division and our Board believe we must do whatever we can to avoid retraumatizing the students and the families involved in the incidents. Furthermore, the Division is legally obligated to protect student confidentiality. This decision was also based on the advice of legal counsel, which determined that the report falls under the protections of the attorney-client privilege. 

 

As a Board, we take these issues seriously. We seek ongoing engagement from the Loudoun County Public Schools community as we move forward to ensure our Division has the processes and accountability measures in place to protect the health, safety and well-being of our students. 

 

Published January 14, 2022