Students Protest in Loudoun County Against Handling of Sexual Assaults

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.
October 26, 2021 Updated: October 26, 2021

Hundreds of students in one of Virginia’s most populous counties walked out of school on Tuesday to protest against the handling of sexual assaults that took place in two different schools in the county.

Video footage and photographs showed students outside multiple schools, including Stone Bridge High School and Broad Run High School—the facilities where confirmed and alleged assaults took place.

The protests took place just a day after a male 15-year-old student was convicted of raping a female minor at Stone Bridge in May. The same male is accused of sexually assaulting another girl at Broad Run in October.

Loudoun County protects rapists,” students at Broad Run shouted.

“Why didn’t anybody tell us?” one said.

A flyer circulated before the walkouts encouraged people to leave the buildings for 10 minutes “to show solidarity to victims of sexual violence and demand safety in our schools.”

Loudoun County Public Schools told media outlets that officials allowed the demonstrations. A spokesman claimed the protest was “not a student-generated one” but was organized by parents.

The district has largely deflected criticism regarding the sexual assaults, even after acknowledging it did not follow state law on reporting earlier assaults.

Some in the district have called on Superintendent Scott Ziegler to resign.

Ziegler, reading a prepared statement to reporters in mid-October, said he was wrong when he alleged during a June school board meeting that no assaults had taken place in bathrooms at schools in the district.

The claim happened during discussion on a proposed policy that later passed, which allows students who say they’re a sex different than their birth sex to use various bathrooms.

Scott Smith, the father of the girl raped in May, has said the male who carried out the crime took advantage of the permissive environment to enter the girls bathroom.

The boy was wearing a skirt, a judge heard on Monday.

Ziegler has so far refused to step down, though one of the school board members is leaving her seat next month.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.