School Board Continues to Face Backlash From Recent Events

On Nov. 9, the Loudoun County School Board discussed testing statistics, project ideas, and the recent issues revolving around the multiple sexual assault cases that have occurred in public schools throughout the region. Many parents called for the resignation of school board members.


prajna Chakravarty on Canva

Although the School Board originally thought that the future school enrollment levels would follow the projected FY22 model, after a reevaluation, the future school enrollment scenario will most likely follow the FY23 model. Future meetings to adopt the capital improvement program (CIP) are listed as well.

As the School Board meeting commenced at 4pm on Nov 9, the board reviewed the rates and statistics of Loudoun County Public School student grades, SOL scores, and standardized tests. Although Loudoun County has room for improvement in areas such as decrease in proficiency and achievement levels for English learners, Loudoun County is a high performing division that has an above average achievement rate. 

The Spring 2021 SOL pass rates for Students with Disabilities have exceeded the state average and are currently at: 51% in reading, 37% in math, and 43% in science. Although there were dips in student achievement levels during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in graduation rates in homeless students and English learners in 2021. This is mainly due to the waiving of verified credits testing requirements.

Next, Principal Michael Pellegrino of Waxpool Elementary School introduced a school-wide project called “Project Based Learning,” also known as PBL. This program is intended to help students collaborate and learn with each other. Waxpool Elementary school’s goal is to educate students about topics that “teach kids how to think, not what to think,” Pellegrino said. 

A student from Potomac Falls High School reported their statistics on school spirit and participation throughout homecoming week. Another one of the high school representatives, a Thomas Jefferson High School senior, reported the differences between this year and last year in COVID-19. 

Recently, Loudoun County Public Schools has gained lots of attention for the multiple sexual assault cases that have occurred in public schools. During the remainder of the meeting, many parents had called for the resignation of the school board members over the recent sexual assault cases and alleged cover-up of the issue. These parents repeatedly stated their concern for the safety of their children while at school.  

On Oct. 26, Loudoun County Public Schools had a walk-out across the county to show their support for the victims of sexual violence in regards to the recent sexual assault cases. Multiple students at Rock Ridge participated in this event.

Senior Kylie Miller was one of the students who engaged in this event, “I wanted to stand in solidarity with the victims,” Miller said. “There needs to be stricter rules for when stuff like this [sexual assault] goes down so that ongoing issues aren’t a problem today.”

Senior Ariana Snekeim, who also participated in the walk out, had similar opinions. “It was comforting to know my school has each others backs,” Snekeim said. “There should be more security at school and if it means my peers and I will be safe, I’ll be fine with that.”

Ian Serotkin is the Blue Ridge district representative on the Loudoun County School Board. “The school board is unable to comment on most aspects of the sexual assault cases,” Serotkin said in response to his thoughts on the recent events. “I am absolutely committed to improving student safety and preventing sexual assaults.” 

“Some things I or the board are already taking action on are: revisions of Policy 8030,” Serotkin said. Policy 8030 outlines “Student Harassment & Discrimination.” Policy 8035 will also be revised, which includes Title IX, sexual discrimination, and sexual assault. Policy 8140 student attendance requirements and procedures have also been adopted.

The School Board would like to prepone the funding of building new schools due to the supply chain and labor shortage issues as a result of COVID-19. They believe they need more support through preponed payments to move forward and get the construction done in time. Additionally, they would also like to add necessary storage for performing arts in different schools.