Loudon County Schools Chief of Staff Leaves Job Amid Claims of Mishandled Sexual Assault Allegations

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The chief of staff for Loudoun County, Virginia public schools has vacated his position as the embattled school district continues to field national criticism over its handling of sexual assault on school grounds.

Last week, the school district confirmed that Chief of Staff Mark Smith was out, although it was not clear why. This comes after the district said last week they wouldn’t release the findings of an internal investigation into how the district responded to the crimes, one of which involved a female student who was raped inside a woman’s bathroom by a male student who was wearing a skirt.

In a statement to Fox News, Loudoun County Public Schools spokesman Wayde Byard said the position was “vacant.”

An unnamed school board member told local media that Smith was “gone” for failing to meet his Title IX obligations.

“He had obligations under Title IX and they weren’t met. He was not a Title IX expert, but it was his job,” the source reportedly claimed. “Someone had to pay and it was him.”

Last week, Byard told Fox News the findings of the district’s internal investigation would remain private.

“The report is complete. It is being withheld from disclosure in its entirety under Va. Code § 2.2-3705.1(2) relating to materials protected under the attorney client privilege,” he said. “Furthermore, portions of the record are being withheld from disclosure under Code § 2.2-3705.4(A)(1) relating to scholastic information and Va. Code § 2.2-3705.1(1) relating to personnel information concerning identifiable individuals.”

Activist parents, who have been raising questions as to how much LCPS Superintendent Scott Ziegler might have obscured from the public over the assault allegations, were unhappy.

“We have been saying for months that Loudoun County Public Schools violated Title IX and this report confirms that,” said the organization Fight for Schools PAC.

“While it is a positive development to see that LCPS is taking action, the fact remains that the buck stopped with Superintendent Scott Ziegler and the former leadership of the school board.”

Ziegler famously said during a school board meeting last year that they had not been aware of any transgender students committing assaults in school bathrooms. The father of the rape victim who was assaulted in her high school bathroom became infuriated and was later arrested, months before the crime was revealed to the public.

The unnamed assailant, who is 15, was sentenced to detention in a psychiatric facility until he is 18. While his trial did not mention his gender identity, it was confirmed that he had been wearing a skirt at the time of the assault.

Loudoun County school board meetings have been the cites of heated protests over the last year, in part due to policy that would allow students to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.

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