The Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) district, which has faced widespread backlash and scrutiny over its handling of a two-time rapist, is now dealing with over 500 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed by county parents, Breitbart reports.
The sheer amount of new requests represents an increase of more than five times the previous yearly average; from 2012 to 2018, the average amount of FOIA requests for LCPS was about 90. Roughly 40 percent of the new requests have been filed on behalf of the group Fight for Schools, a nonprofit watchdog group that has been fighting for transparency from the school board.
As the process of fulfilling a FOIA request under Virginia state law, much like the federal equivalent, is a time-consuming process, LCPS “has begun billing VFOIA requesters because it cannot handle the current volume free of charge,” according to LCPS Public Information Officer Wayne Byard. In addition, the district has had to hire twice as many staffers to focus solely on processing such requests.
One of the primary focuses of the deluge of FOIA requests is the recent double-rape case that took place across two different schools in the LCPS district over the course of six months. The rapist, a 15-year-old “transgender” boy who identifies as a female and wears women’s clothing to school, raped a 14-year-old freshman girl in the bathroom of Loudoun County’s Stone Bridge High School in May. The rape was covered up by the district, which then quietly transferred the culprit to another school, Broad Run High, where he assaulted another girl in an empty classroom in October. The suspect was found guilty of the first rape in juvenile court, while he pleaded “no contest” to the second assault.
LCPS has been accused of covering up both incidents and not taking action against the boy in order to protect its newly-enacted “transgender” policy, which aimed to allow boys who identify as girls to use all women’s facilities in any school across the district, including restrooms and locker rooms.
Although one school board member resigned over the fiasco, no decisive action was taken to change the policy that led to the two assaults. Superintendent Scott Ziegler issued an apology, but refused to resign. With LCPS’ handling of the incident widely seen as a major factor in the Republican sweep of Virginia’s elections in November, Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares (R-Va.) has vowed to investigate the school district over the incident, and prosecute where necessary.