The counsel for Loudoun County Public Schools confirmed that employees have been issued subpoenas to turn over records for an ongoing grand jury investigation by the Virginia Attorney General’s Office into the system’s handling of sexual assaults.
Robert Falconi told members of the Loudoun County School Board on Tuesday that a number of school staff received subpoenas over recent weeks from the office of Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares.
These subpoenas are related to the investigation initiated under Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s order, which asks the Miyares’ office to investigate how the school board and administration handled reports of sexual assaults by the same student at two different high schools.
Falconi said Miyares’ office does not inform him when they subpoena staff to testify or when employees are asked to provide records.
“Because of that, I do not know the extent to which employees may have received subpoenas, nor do I know the extent to which those employees may have already provided educational records of LCPS students in response to those subpoenas,” Falconi said.
Falconi does not think employees who may have provided responses have done it out of malicious intent, but said that “subpoenas are really scary, and they usually say that if you fail to comply with the subpoena, then you could be fined or put in jail,” adding that employees may believe the right way to handle the request is to comply without bringing it to his office.
“The primary purpose of bringing these documents to me is to ensure that LCPS is complying with its legal obligations regarding student privacy,” Falconi said.
His office will issue a memorandum Wednesday advising staff on how to handle subpoenas moving forward, Falconi told the board.
Falconi said that of the subpoenas he does know about, there have been a few requests for the specific education records of elementary and high school students, which he said parents are notified of before any compliance.
There are also other requests that are broader, such as emails that refer to certain terms including sexual assault, Title IX or Facebook.
“They’ve also asked for records from school staff regarding personnel investigations … and they’ve also demanded records from both school and central office employees referencing Policy 8040, which is the transgender student rights policy passed by the board in 2021,” Falconi said.
Before those records are retrieved, Falconi said they are searched to ensure that student records are not included, and families will be notified as well.
Falconi said requests that ask for terms instead of specific student records can amount to thousands of pages of records.
“And we don’t know which students may be included in those records. Until someone has gone through and actually reviewed each of those records page by page, what I can assure our families is that we are notifying them when students are identified,” he said.
Falconi said that of the subpoenas he is aware of, he has not seen one that specifically requests the identities of transgender students or any other LGBTQ students.
WTOP’s Mike Murillo contributed to this report.