Virginia high court rules grand jury investigation of Loudoun Co. schools can continue

The Virginia Supreme Court ruled Friday that the grand jury investigating the Loudoun County school system can continue.

The grand jury was convened earlier this year by Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares, fulfilling an executive order from Gov. Glenn Youngkin and a campaign promise to investigate their claims the school system covered up a sexual assault by a student at one high school, which allowed the teen to be transferred to a second school where he assaulted another girl.

The Loudoun County School Board had filed a lawsuit seeking to halt the grand jury, claiming it was unconstitutional.

The court in its decision Friday upheld a lower court’s ruling to allow the grand jury to continue. They rejected the school board’s contention that the grand jury infringed on the right of the elected board to supervise the county’s schools, as set out in the state constitution.

“The school board has offered no convincing argument for why the grand jury investigation infringes this provision,” the court wrote. “The school board will continue to oversee the county’s schools exactly as before. The constitutional power to administer a school district does not bring with it immunity from investigation for violations of the criminal law.”

The school system argued the special grand jury wasn’t limiting its questions to potential criminal wrongdoing, and was focusing on things ranging from transgender issues to Facebook posts.

The court ruled that the school system hasn’t been harmed by the investigation so far, and if the grand jury does overreach, there are remedies available, such as moving to quash subpoenas.

Miyares said in a statement, “We are pleased with the court’s ruling and ready to move forward. This is yet another win for both Loudoun families and the commonwealth in our fight for justice and answers.”

The then-15-year-old boy was found responsible in juvenile court for both of last year’s assaults, which took place in a restroom at Stone Bridge High in May and in an empty classroom at Broad Run High in October. He’ll be in juvenile detention until he’s 18.

“Loudoun County Public Schools appreciates the Supreme Court’s consideration of the unusual circumstances regarding this special grand jury,” the school system said in a statement. “While LCPS is disappointed in the results, it will continue to comply with the special grand jury’s requests and awaits the results of its investigation.”

WTOP’s Neal Augenstein contributed to this report.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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