Former Loudoun County Superintendent Guilty of Retaliation Against Teacher Who Reported Sex Crimes
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Former Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent, Scott Ziegler, has been found guilty of the retaliation-based termination of teacher Erin Brooks.
Brooks is a former special education teacher who in 2022, reported inappropriate sexual advances by a non-verbal student at Rosa Lee Carter Elementary School. The student reportedly touched Brooks and another teacher up to 40 times a day for months.
While Brooks sought help from administrators, the issue went unaddressed past offering a piece of cardboard to intercept the inappropriate contact, or suggesting she buy an apron to cover her intimate areas as a prevention for being groped.
Justice has been served. A Loudoun County jury found Scott Ziegler guilty. pic.twitter.com/j8wJ7UKuwk— Jason Miyares (@JasonMiyaresVA) September 29, 2023
NBC Washington D.C. reported that "the school district [said] Brooks wasn’t following the protocol they needed from her in order for the issue to be addressed [and] Brooks testified that she did not know if or when she filled out the proper Title IX complaint form that she had said she filled out."
According to The Washington Post, Brandon Wrobelski, the Special Assistant to Virginia Attorney General, shared that Brooks had reached out to the Loudoun County Public Schools Human Resources department regarding a Title IX complaint against the student, but the district insisted that she "had not given them enough information to act on a Title IX complaint."
In a statement made by the defense, the school district claimed that Brooks' contract was not renewed due to a violation of federal student privacy laws when she shared internal email communications about the incident to a non-school district affiliated email account.
Following the jury's guilty verdict, Ziegler now awaits his January 2024 sentencing where he will face up to six months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine for his actions.
Ziegler was fired in December 2022, following the release of a 91-page report by special grand jury who found that Ziegler and other district employees failed to investigate into cases of sexual assault and misconduct.
In June 2023 after a unanimous vote from the Loudoun County School Board, Dr. Aaron Spence, former Virginia Beach City Public Schools Superintendent, was appointed the new Superintendent of Loudoun County Public School District, replacing Ziegler.
Attempting to restore the school district after Ziegler's failed leadership, Spence is holding 'Community Listening Sessions,' where he seeks to hear from parents, students, and other community stakeholders to determine where the gaps are in the school district. Spence shared, "The whole purpose of listening sessions is to give people an opportunity to tell us where they, first of all, think we’re doing well because we need to know that too. We need to build on those strengths, but also where are there opportunities for us to continue to improve."
In addition to his current charges, Ziegler awaits another jury trial, scheduled for February 2024, where he will be tried for charges stemming from false claims that he was unaware of reports involving sexual assault in school bathrooms.
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