Say, look who still doesn’t appreciate accountability and transparency! Following multiple instances of failures by the Loudoun County Public Schools to report sexual assault incidents on its campuses, the controversy over transparency and parental notification exploded into national politics. The attempts to cast parents as “domestic terrorists” for protesting at LCPS helped vault Republicans Glenn Youngkin to victory as governor and Jason Miyares as AG.
The two soon ordered a grand-jury probe into LCPS violations, which Loudoun County now desperately wants to prevent:
The Loudoun County School Board is seeking a temporary injunction to prohibit any further actions by the special grand jury convened by Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares, WTOP has learned. …
In the new filing, Attorney Steven T. Webster, said Youngkin’s executive order exceeded the governor’s authority, by ordering Miyares to do a “full investigation” of LCPS, with a request that Miyares take any appropriate actions “to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth and hold accountable any individuals who have violated existing law or violated the rights of victims of crime.”
Virginia code permits the commonwealth’s Attorney General to prosecute criminal cases in local courts for a limited number of offenses, or “unless specifically requested by the Governor to do so.”
According to the complaint, the authority to empanel a special grand jury is limited to the local commonwealth’s attorney.
In addition, the special grand jury is not intended to be used to investigate noncriminal matters, or policy issues.
That’s a rather dramatic reversal from their previous position, Miyares’ office told WTOP:
In an email, Miyares spokeswoman Victoria LaCivita said: “Loudoun County Public Schools stated publicly they would cooperate with the special grand jury. Asking for an injunction is just the latest in a series of efforts to prevent the citizens of Loudoun from learning the truth about conditions existing in Loudoun County public schools that promote criminal activity, proving this investigation is warranted and necessary. This injunction is a waste of taxpayer money and the investigation will continue.”
Needless to say, this is hardly the first signal that LCPS wants to keep scrutiny away from its operations. In January, the LCPS decided to bury a report on their handling of the most notorious two cases of sexual assault on their campuses, ostensibly to protect the “families” involved. The family of one victim of the same perp in both cases blasted that decision, given that her father had already been widely accused of domestic terrorism for angrily confronting the LCPS board:
The family of the young girl that was sexually assaulted in a #loudouncounty bathroom has posted a statement and they are rightfully not happy that @LCPSOfficial will not release the report of its independent investigation into a clear cover up. #releasethereport pic.twitter.com/UyUz8GRQHD
— Ian Prior (@iandprior) January 15, 2022
That certainly smells more like a cover-up, especially given other reporting on LCPS non-compliance with mandatory reporting laws. Those are state laws, not local, although the penalties for it are administrative and civil rather than criminal. However, if LCPS board members conducted a cover-up to prevent state authorities from discovering their fraudulent reports, that could very well cross over into criminal conduct — or at least give Youngkin and Miyares enough of a predicate for the grand jury. That’s precisely what Youngkin alleged in his executive order authorizing Miyares to open the grand-jury probe:
A decision was made to transfer the assailant to another Loudoun County high school, where the student was able to commit a second sexual assault. The Loudoun County School Board and school administrators withheld key details and knowingly lied to parents about the assaults.
That’s probably good enough to keep a court from intervening in the probe at this point in time. Courts may not be thrilled with the idea of a rootless grand jury issuing subpoenas, but there’s enough evidence here of a concerted effort by LCPS to hide mandatory-reporting data that a judge will likely want to watch the process for a while before terminating a potential criminal probe.
Meanwhile, LCPS keeps demonstrating that they prioritize themselves over parents, children, and transparency. That lesson certainly can’t be interrupted by this motion, and in fact is amplified by it.