The Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) superintendent complained to the local sheriff’s office over its rejection of “extraordinary” security requests for August school board meetings, documents obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation show.
Superintendent Scott Ziegler requested officer personnel, a K-9 sweep and undercover presence from the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO), which was rejected, according to documents obtained by the Fight for School PAC through public records requests.
The LCSO also disagreed with the decision not to allow residents to speak at a June 22 school board meeting and said the LCPS school board was being dismissive of people with whom it didn’t agree.
The father of a sexual assault victim, Scott Smith, was arrested for “unlawful assembly” at the June 22 school board meeting when he tried to speak out against the passage of a district policy that allows students to use bathrooms of the gender with which they identify.
Smith’s ninth-grade daughter was sexually assaulted by a boy wearing a skirt who entered a girls’ bathroom at Stone Bridge High School on May 28.
On Aug. 6, the local sheriff’s office said it “would not be supporting LCPS for the meeting” on August 10 or 11, according to notes outlined in a letter to Ziegler from LCPS chief operations officer, Kevin L. Lewis, who spoke with Sheriff Mike Chapman.
Chapman defended LCSO’s decision not to provide support because the school board “unilaterally” decided to limit public comment, hire a security firm with a metal detector and put a security plan in place without LCSO’s consultation.
The sheriff’s office also said “6 of 9 SB members brought this to bear by creating anti racist groups on social media” and that he, along with the LCSO, received national criticism and took the blame as the “bad guy(s)” after the June 22 meeting.
Chapman said he believed the people at the June 22 school board meeting should have been allowed to speak publicly but that he still bore all of the criticism, including death threats, while Ziegler and the school board “took none of the push back from the community or national arena.”
Beth Barts, who was allegedly involved in the “anti-racist” Facebook group, resigned this month. The group reportedly created lists of parents who opposed Critical Race Theory (CRT) or who called for the reopening of schools for in-person learning.
LCSO also said it did an investigation into the social media “anti-racist” group and said the school board was “firing people up and calling LCSO to clean it up.”
Chapman said the board was attempting to do the same thing with the Aug. 10 and 11 meetings, but that LCSO “won’t be put in that position again.”
In an Aug. 6 email to Chapman, Ziegler requested assistance, including multiple LCSO deputies, a K-9 explosive sweep, a five-person Quick Reaction Force, undercover officers and a special operation team on standby nearby.
The same day, Chapman responded that Ziegler’s requests were “extraordinary” and that Ziegler didn’t provide “any justification for such a manpower intensive request” that “would likely constitute LCSO’s commitment of a minimum of approximately 65 sworn deputies,” the letter said.
Chapman told Fox News that he bolded “extraordinary” and “any justification” for emphasis in his email.
Chapman said Ziegler’s email did not describe LCPS’ plans to only allow “ten members of the public inside at any given time.” He said that Ziegler also didn’t explain that LCPS would search and use metal detectors on members of the public building and hired its own “armed security guard” for inside the building, along with nine other “unarmed” security personnel.
“Your email also dictates exactly ‘how’ the LCPS plans to utilize LCSO resources to staff the event,” Chapman wrote. “It is not the LCPS’ position to dictate how the LCSO is to handle public safety and law enforcement. The LCSO provides service and responses commensurate with the issues at hand and answers to the public at large – not to the LCPS.”
Ziegler’s response rebuffed Chapman’s claim that LCPS “unilaterally” devised a security plan for the Aug. 10 and 11 meetings and said it has “maintained a collaborative relationship” with his office for years. He said he was surprised by Chapman’s response that LCPS’ request was “extraordinary” because it “mirrors the resources and support that LCSO provided on June 22.”
Chapman and Ziegler did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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