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Breaking down 8 recommendations for Loudoun Co. schools from grand jury report

A grand jury report says LCPS needs to make serious changes after an investigation into how the school system handled two sex assault cases.

LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. — After investigating the Loudon County school board for mishandling two sexual assault cases involving the same student, a grand jury handed down eight recommendations for the board in the report detailed during a meeting Tuesday night. 

First, the report says the board should  include as much information as reasonably possible when informing parents, staff, students, and community about significant incidents. In response, the board has proposed revising  two policies which would allow them to give more information to the public. 

Second, the jury recommend establishing more formal protocol for transfers. LCPS is now proposing any student transfer resulting from disciplinary actions, safety considerations, or due to a court order would require the superintendent to be notified and a meeting with administration from the student's current school and future school. 

Third, the report says the Director of Safety and Security needs to be more involved in situations that threaten the safety and security of students, teachers, and staff.

The fourth recommendation says the board should tighten policies regarding what types of apps students can download on school-issued devices. 

Recommendation five directs the board member to limit the degree to which legitimate matters and information of public concern are shielded from the public under the cloak of "attorney-client privilege." 

The board has proposed adding the following verbiage to its policy: “The Loudoun County school board is a public body and  [its] business shall be conducted in public in accordance with the open meetings requirements of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (VFOIA). 

As for the sixth recommendation, the grand jury's report states there is a need for communication, cooperation, and coordination across agencies which the special grand jury asserts must be approved when addressing issues of criminal conduct by students, faculty, and staff. 

The grand jury also recommends LCPS strengthen avenues of support and advocacy for faculty and staff confronted with challenging scenarios that could pose a danger to and/or impede learning. 

The board says it has already committed to doing so by adding two positions. They hired an auditor general who has an anonymous tip line set up for fraud, waste, and abuse. Staff can use this as a resource if they feel like their concern is not being addressed by the appropriate channels. LCPS also said it hired a person who operates outside the school building and can answer questions and concerns from students, parents, and employees. 

Lastly, the grand jury said the superintendent’s recommendation for the non-renewal of a teacher contract should be the subject of a separate agenda item not placed on the board’s consent agenda.


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