The drip drip from Loudoun County, Virginia, in regard to a sexual assault incident(s) continues. Today we learned,
ONLY ON WTOP: Loudoun County’s superintendent notified the school board the same day a female student was sexually assaulted at Stone Bridge High School, according to an email obtained by WTOP. https://t.co/Re4vkD7H60
— WTOP (@WTOP) October 22, 2021
This flatly contradicts earlier statements from the board and school officials. It’s sort of amazing there has not been more attention to this incident. There are credible, law enforcement confirmed, allegations that a student sexually assaulted or raped two different students in the school system. The second because the alleged offender was not removed following the first incident. That alone seems like an important story?
What we don’t know is everything that went into the district’s decision-making. What the second school knew. A whole host of issues. But at this point it’s pretty clear the district is not being forthcoming about what happened, which should get antenna up. It might be stonewalling, incompetence, or concern about legal exposure. It’s not OK. The parents of one of the alleged victims are suing.
So why does this matter? Because regardless of what’s going on there is a story here with some broader implications.
Scenario 1: These parents are so wound up about transgender issues and ‘CRT’ or whatever else that they and right wing media will stop at nothing – including cooking up stories about sexual assaults – to attack this school board and its leadership. So in this case, yes the district screwed up, but people are being opportunistic with the episode.
Scenario 2: Whether because of political sensitivities about some of the as of now unconfirmed details regarding the alleged perpetrator, general public relationist tendencies in the sector, or some other issue(s) the school district was not transparent about this issue or actively sought to squelch it.
It increasingly seems like scenario 2 is more likely. But either case seems like a big story? And either has pretty big implications as illustrative of the culture wars enveloping school boards.
Overall, around the country one faction says that parents are pretty worked up about nothing or are just bullying school boards, and another faction says school districts aren’t shooting straight about what’s actually happening in schools. Loudoun’s a high profile test case.
Bottom line: A 15-year-old was apparently raped, in a school, and a second student apparently assaulted by the same person, in a second school. Did the district cover that up, or are parents cynically using the episode to advance a political agenda? Or some of both? As we discussed on Monday, it’s going to take some scouts to ask some questions and sort this out rather than just repeat the narratives of either faction.
Local media continues to advance the story via TV news, radio, and print. But given the stakes, increasingly people are asking, where is The Washington Post? And the whole ostrich posture from the ed sector isn’t a good look. I hoped we had learned that lesson with Parkland.