A member of the Loudoun County School Board in Virginia has joined concerned parents and students in calling for the resignation of Superintendent Scott Ziegler in the wake of an email that surfaced last week.
In an exclusive statement to Fox News, John Beatty, the Catoctin District member of the board, accused Ziegler of “withholding information for political gain” when it came to an alleged sexual assault against a female student in a girls restroom on May 28.
“My heart breaks every time I hear about the assaults in our schools,” Beatty told Fox News in an email statement. “I could never imagine my daughter coming home from school and telling me something like what happened. But the fact remains. You don’t go to the press during an ongoing investigation, especially when it’s dealing with student privacy.”
“No matter the incident, I trust the superintendent and his staff perform their jobs and protect our students,” Beatty added.
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Even so, he accused Ziegler of withholding information in order to protect the controversial pro-transgender policy 8040.
“I believe no updates were given because the superintendent was working to aggressively pass a policy that would have allowed unrestricted access of biological males to female restrooms,” Beatty wrote. “He didn’t provide information because if it came out that there was an assault in the bathroom, the transgender policy wouldn’t have passed.”
The board member noted that he did not get “a full picture on what happened” until “just a few weeks ago.”
“I demanded a full investigation,” Beatty noted. “And now our superintendent must resign immediately. Withholding information for political gain is unacceptable and disqualifying.”
‘Stay in the fight’
He concluded his message by encouraging concerned parents and students.
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“So parents and students, I hear you all, I’m standing with you, and I will continue to fight for you,” Beatty wrote. “I will oppose any policy that jeopardizes your child’s safety and education. Stay in the fight and know someone is listening to your concerns.”
Beatty sent the comments shortly after the school board meeting on Tuesday, during which many parents and some students demanded the resignations of Ziegler and many of the school board members.
“You have buried a sexual assault to protect your precious 8040 policy,” Carrie Michon, a grandmother of Loudoun County children, accused the school board, referencing a pro-transgender policy. “Every last one of you, resign!”
“You have buried a sexual assault to protect your precious 8040 policy. Every last one of you, resign!”
Earlier Tuesday, approximately 75 students walked out of Broad Run High School, protesting the way Zeigler and the board handled the issue.
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The parents claimed that Ziegler and the school board covered up — while the board was considering the controversial transgender rule — the report that a male student in a skirt allegedly assaulted a female student in a girls restroom. Prosecutors confirmed the same young man who stands accused in that May incident also stands accused of sexual assault in an October incident in another school.
After the first incident on May 28, Ziegler sent an email to the school board, saying, “This afternoon a female student alleged that a male student sexually assaulted her in the restroom.” At a school board meeting on June 22, Ziegler declared that to his knowledge, “We don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms.”
On Oct. 15, Ziegler apologized for the remarks, saying he “wrongly interpreted” a question “about discipline incidents in bathrooms” because he was too focused on the 8040 controversy.
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Beatty confirmed to Fox News that he was on the board at the time, but he wrote, “I don’t remember seeing the email, and I’m always bound by the confidentiality of student information.”
The school district has denied allegations of a cover-up.
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Schools spokesman Wayne Byard told Fox News on Monday that the school district reported the alleged assaults to the sheriff’s office immediately on May 28 and Oct. 6. Byard noted that Ziegler notified the board, but because “the nature of the incident was still under investigation,” the report “could not be released to the general public” at the time.
The commonwealth’s attorney’s office released a statement Tuesday, addressing the May 28 incident.
“Loudoun County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Chief Judge Pamela Brooks found the evidence presented yesterday to be sufficient to sustain two charges of sexual assault,” the statement said. “The boy remains in detention and is due back in court in November.”
Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin had previously called for the resignations of Ziegler and the school board.
Other members of the school board did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.