Some Loudoun County parents, residents call for school board, superintendent to resign

Loudoun County parents criticized the school board and demanded resignations during Tuesday night's school board meeting, WTOP's Dick Uliano reports.

The Loudoun County School Board in Virginia got an earful of criticism from parents and residents during a meeting Tuesday night.

Some 120 people signed up to address the board either online or in person. There were so many people scheduled to speak that the usual three minutes of time allotted per person during the public comment period was trimmed to just one minute.

“I respectfully ask that the board resign, you too (schools Superintendent) Scott Ziegler. Do the taxpayers and the families of Loudoun a favor and resign today. Please let us have a fresh start,” said Cheryl Onderchain, the first in-person speaker whose fiery remarks set the tone for many of the rest.

“I expected more honesty and integrity out of the people sitting up on this dais. Every single one of you should be ashamed,” Brandon Michon said.

Some parents have been protesting for weeks over the school system’s transgender policy, which allows students to choose bathroom and locker rooms based on their gender identity and requires teachers and staff to use a student’s preferred pronouns.

But adding to parents’ anger is that the school community only recently learned of a sexual assault in a high school bathroom in May.

A Loudoun County juvenile court judge Monday ruled that a high school student sexually assaulted a schoolmate in a bathroom at Stone Bridge High School in May. The teenager, now 15, was later charged with sexual battery and abduction of another female student on Oct. 6 at Broad Run High School.

On the same day that a female student at Stone Bridge High said she was sexually assaulted in a bathroom in May, Ziegler sent a brief, confidential email to school board members.

On Tuesday morning, some 50 to 60 students walked out over sexual assault concerns and silently protested for about 30 minutes at Broad Run High School, Riverside High School and Stone Bridge High School.

Loudoun County Public Schools spokesman Wayde B. Byard said a parent notified the high schools last week of protests that would be happening, and the schools sent a notice Monday night that students would be supported if they chose to demonstrate.

The student leadership did not know about the protest, Bayard said.

Also raising some parents’ ire is the school system’s vaccine mandate for high school student athletes.

“You know how many kids under 19 have died in this county with COVID? It is zero, and you would have these kids inject something into them that contains risk,” Michael Stansbury said.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, 657 kids 18 and under have died from COVID-19 in the U.S.

Earlier this month, a member of the school board resigned amid controversy over a Facebook group called “Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County,” where other members allegedly posted personal information about area parents who opposed the school district’s racial equity efforts.

WTOP’s Neal Augenstein contributed to this report.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect the number of kids under 18 who have died from COVID-19. 

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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