Prince William School Board Chairman Defends Ignoring Father’s Concern About Sex Abuse During Meeting


The Prince William County School Board (PWCSB) member is defending himself against claims that he ignored the concern of a father who said at a Wednesday school board meeting that his daughter had been sexually assaulted in one of the county’s schools.

“During our School Board meeting on January 19, a concerned father addressed the School Board during Citizen Comment time with questions about the way a situation had been handled by the School Division,” Dr. Babur Lateef, Chairman of PWCSB told The Virginia Star in a statement. “Citizen Comment time is not structured to allow for the School Board to address a citizen’s questions immediately.”

“Unfortunately, this has created the perception that I was dismissive of this father’s concerns. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a parent myself, with a daughter in the school system as well, I fully empathize with this father’s anguish and concern,” he continued. “Staff are available at School Board meetings to assist in supporting parents with questions, and in this situation, a staff member was able to talk to this parent immediately at the meeting.”

The lengthy statement continued:

Please know that PWCS takes any act of sexual assault or violence seriously and such acts will not be tolerated. PWCS has specific procedures and highly trained personnel to assist students and parents in resolving claims that involve certain forms of unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature as required by Title IX, a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. I encourage anyone who has experienced unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature to report it immediately…

School administration learned of this incident on the day it is alleged to have occurred and notified law enforcement. According to the police department, an assault charge was obtained, and this matter was handled through juvenile court services. The PWCS Title IX office has taken action to investigate the allegations and to offer supportive measures consistent with legal requirements. That process is still ongoing. For student privacy reasons, we cannot share information about the alleged incident, the investigation, or any findings, discipline or other actions that may result. PWCS administrators are working with the family of the complainant to respond to their concerns.

During the meeting, a father named Jeff Darr addressed PWCSB and asked multiple times what the school’s policy was for addressing alleged sexual assaults. He said his daughter had been groped over her clothing, and that the school only suspended the perpetrator for a day.

“I don’t understand. Where do you find the rules and regulations at? Where do the administrators of the schools find the rules and regulations? Darr asked. “They have policies and procedures.”

At first, Lateef directed Darr to another person.

“I want the public to know. That’s why I come here, because I want the public to know – ”

Lateef then cut him off.

“So, we won’t be answering you, but you can certainly keep asking,” Lateef said.

“I want to know the school’s definition of sexual assault,” Darr replied. “Because she was told – she’s standing right there – that if it’s above the clothes, it’s not sexual assault. And that’s the way the county does the kids here? It’s messed up. That’s my daughter, and no one wants to do nothing about it. You suspend the boy for one day for improper touching, and I don’t think that’s right. So somebody needs to do something. Somebody needs to look into the matter and do something because there’s more kids out there…”

Darr was holding back tears during his speech.

Watch the full video:

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Babur Lateef” by Prince William County Schools.





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