The superintendent of Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia announced he has commissioned an outside review of how his office handled allegations of sexual misconduct at two high schools.
"We believe we have followed all mandatory reporting protocols and aided law enforcement to the fullest extent allowed in all investigations regarding these matters," Superintendent Scott Ziegler wrote in a Nov. 5 email to parents and staff. "We acknowledge that these matters need to be fully reviewed."
The school district has hired the law firm Blankingship & Keith, based in Fairfax, Virginia, to conduct the review, Ziegler wrote.
The move comes amid criticisms of how the school district handled allegations that a male student assaulted female students inside the girls' bathrooms at Stone Bridge and Broad Run high schools.
One assault, which allegedly took place in May at Stone Bridge High School, sparked controversy after the victim's father was arrested earlier this year during a contentious school board meeting. Parents subsequently claimed that the school district covered up the assaults.
"Please know that this independent review is only one step in moving forward to help heal our school community," Ziegler wrote in the email that he posted on the school district's website. "We will keep you up-to-date about the steps we take and the progress we make. Together, we believe we can make our schools a safer, more nurturing environment for every student."
Elsewhere in the district, a female counselor at Freedom High School reportedly is facing criminal charges for allegedly having an "inappropriate relationship" with a student.