LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. - The U.S. Department of Education is opening up an investigation into Loudoun County Public Schools due to concerns about how the school system failed to respond appropriately to reports of sexual assault.
The DOE received a letter in January from the America First Legal Foundation citing concerns with how the school system failed to respond to the sexual assault claims as required by Title IX.
Ian Prior was a Loudoun County Public Schools father before moving his daughters to a different school. He is a senior advisor with the American First Legal Foundation.
"This is about protecting students from sexual assault, and sexual harassment," Prior said. "And it's important that the politics are taken out of this, and they do a thorough investigation to make sure that these problems are remedied."
The U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights is opening the complaint for investigation and will look into whether LCPS failed to respond as required by Title IX to the notice of sexual assault in the systems' high schools.
A special grand jury, which was made up of Loudoun County citizens randomly selected to serve as jurors, began an investigation into LCPS in April.
It focused on how LCPS and the Loudoun County School Board responded after a 15-year-old student assaulted a schoolmate at Stone Bridge High School, and then while awaiting trial then allegedly sexually assaulted another teenage girl at Broad Run High School.
In January, a judge found the 15-year-old guilty of sexual battery, abduction and two counts of sodomy in the sexual assault at Stone Bridge High School.
Scott Smith is the father of the first victim. In a statement sent to FOX 5 Smith said:
"The U.S. Dept. of Education now declaring that it will investigate LCPS for potential Title IX violations is meaningless. It’s like the National School Board, who branded me a domestic terrorist, saying that they are going now to investigate the harm put upon my family — it’s biased, and the only result that the USDOE will come to is that Loudoun did everything right, in order to protect it from truth and reason. You have to question why now, over a year later, that suddenly the federal government is interested in this problem. Is it to root out wrongdoing or is it actually to make an effort to protect the wrongdoer, the Loudoun County School Board, that adopted the harmful left-leaning policies that the federal government actively agrees with regarding the education of our children? Any investigation by the federal department of education is an absolute farce, and any conclusions it may come to as completely untrustworthy."
The grand jury report found school officials mishandled the situation. The Loudoun County School Board voted not to release the findings of an independent investigation back in February.
LCPS released the following statement Monday:
"Loudoun County Public Schools has received a Notification of Complaint from the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, and will duly assist OCR in this process. The staff and administration of LCPS remain committed to making student safety and welfare the Division’s highest priority. As this investigation relates to matters concerning student privacy, we will not comment further at this time."
The Virginia Attorney General’s Office said they can’t comment on pending litigation.
A spokesperson from the education department told FOX 5 they do not comment on open investigations. However, the OCR can confirm there are two open investigations into Loudoun County Public Schools under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.