Teachers Say Loudoun County Public Schools Didn’t Renew Their Contract After Testifying to Grand Jury and Expressing Concern About Students’ Inappropriate Touching

Two Loudoun County Public Schools teachers said in a public comment period Tuesday that their contracts weren’t renewed after they were subpoenaed by a grand jury investigating the district and after their complaints about teachers being inappropriately touched.

Erin Brooks said she had a student who was repeatedly touching teachers and students in a sexual way.

“My reviews have been stellar. I won the excellence and special education teaching award last year. Now I’ve been relabeled by you as unacceptable. And Mr. Ziegler, you will not renew my contract next school year. I’m thankful that I was subpoenaed to a special grand jury as a witness who testified to egregious decisions and behaviors. Please stop with the intimidation, stop with the defamation, stop trying to cover this up,” Brooks told the school board, according to video shared by LCPS citizen reporter Julie Sisson.

The next speaker, Laura Vandermeulen, said that the concerns about inappropriate touching had been raised at a March 22 meeting.

“Since that meeting, the lead teacher and I have been subject to repeated retaliation by H.R. and the school. Two weeks ago after my having to testify to the special grand jury, we were informed that our contracts were not being renewed and I would not be eligible for employment with LCPS. I had an ‘exceeds expectations’ performance rating last year and have not received any negative feedback until two weeks ago. At that meeting, my principal said to me, ‘It didn’t have to look like this, but you made choices.’ So I was terminated for those choices.”

On Wednesday, an LCPS spokesperson highlighted a statement Superintendent Scott Ziegler made at the meeting: “Loudoun County Public Schools has neither retaliated against any employee for raising concerns about sexual harassment nor taken any adverse action against anyone for testifying before a special grand jury. Any claim to the contrary is simply untrue.”

The statement continued: “While our obligations regarding confidentiality and student privacy preclude us from providing additional details regarding this matter, LCPS investigates and addresses all concerns that are brought to our attention. We will continue to act in the best interests of our students and employees and encourage employees or students to report any concerns or allegations regarding sexual harassment or sexual assault in LCPS to the LCPS Title IX Coordinator at [email protected]

Governor Glenn Youngkin has ordered Attorney General Jason Miyares to conduct a grand jury investigation of the school board amid accusations that school officials mishandled two sexual assault cases in 2021.

Youngkin’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment, and Miyares’ office said that due to the ongoing investigation, they couldn’t comment on the statements made at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Loudoun Schools” by Loudoun County Schools.

 

 

 

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