Attorney General Jason Miyares has denied claims from Loudoun County LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Loudoun that students’ records were subpoenaed in an ongoing grand jury investigation.
On Saturday, the organization posted a notice on its social media handles asking that parents reach out if they are dealing with any messages via email or mail.
“One family received what is referred to as a FERPA notice on May 4 with a deadline of May 10 to respond,” Equality Loudoun wrote.
It also claimed that one transgender student was the subject of records requests that were “unrelated to the initial scope of the investigation” and that the grand jury requested “any documents tied to a keyword search for ‘transgender policy.'”
“In a community already wracked by politically-motivated hate against our LGBTQ+ population, we strongly condemn the targeting of our transgender students simply because of their identity,” the organization said.
WTOP reached out to Miyares’ office to confirm his office’s participation in the grand jury process and for comment on the claims made by Equality Loudoun. Spokesperson Victoria LaCivita denied the claims.
“These uninformed allegations regarding the confidential proceedings of the special grand jury are unequivocally false,” LaCivita told WTOP.
Equality Loudoun said the subpoena would give the court access to sensitive records, including disability services and medical documents. Speaking with WTOP, the organization’s president Cris Candice shared some general information and confirmed that the student was not affiliated with the ongoing court case.
They told WTOP that advocates and school families are taking action in any event, especially since “certain sensitive documents” cannot be pulled from their child’s file after they have been subpoenaed.
“Legal representatives have indicated that the process to file injunctions to protect student records have to be made against individual records,” Candice told WTOP, “which results in costly efforts to keep sensitive student information private.”
A spokesperson for the attorney general did not respond to questions regarding how entangled LGBTQ+ identifying students are with this ongoing litigation. When called for comment, a spokesperson for Miyares’ office was not available.
The advocacy organization confirmed that allegations were related to a highly publicized grand jury investigation into two sexual assaults carried out by the same student at two separate Loudoun County public schools. That Loudoun County student was convicted in juvenile court of sexually assaulting a young woman at Stone Bridge High School in May of 2021 and another woman at Broad Run High School in October.
“Neither the Loudoun County School Board, nor the administrators of the Loudoun County school system, have been held accountable for deceiving the very Virginians they serve,” the executive order said. “Virginia parents deserve answers and assurances that the safety of their children will never be compromised.”
That order put the power of initiating an investigation and the eventual creation of the standing grand jury in the hand of then newly-minted Attorney General Jason Miyares. He was unwilling to confirm the existence of a grand jury in the weeks and months that followed the executive order’s signing.
By April, Wayde Byard, a spokesperson for Loudoun County Public Schools, told WTOP the system knew about the grand jury and would cooperate while protecting student privacy.
“[The system] intends to cooperate with the lawful requests of the special grand jury,” Byard said, “while protecting the privacy rights of our students to the extent permitted by law and in accordance with all applicable legal privileges.”
No one was able to confirm just how broad these subpoenas may be, who may be impacted, or what legal options parents had. Candice was sure, however, that the amount of time available to parents wouldn’t be enough.
“This parent only has until Tuesday to figure out what they’re doing,” Candice said. “That’s not a lot of time.”
Editor’s Note: WTOP has redacted the identifying information of impacted minors identified in this story and requested documentation from the family. A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the assailant in the county sexual assault case. It has been revised.
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