The Supreme Court of Virginia granted a major start-of-school win for parental rights, student safety, and the Youngkin and Miyares administrations on September 2. At issue was a male student who committed a sexual assault against a female student in a Loudoun County school, and then school officials transferred the boy to another school in the same district where he then assaulted another student.
Loudoun County, one of the wealthiest and fastest-growing counties in the US owing to its location southwest of Washington DC, garnered national headlines as it became a ground-zero hotbed where angry parents and intransigent school board members often locked horns. Protracted, heated conflicts included disagreements over school closures, mask mandates, boys in girls’ bathrooms and locker-rooms, under-reported crimes, etc.
To the shock of many here in the Old Dominion and across the nation, US Attorney General Merrick Garland (D), the Department of Justice, and the FBI then branded some of the indignant, protesting parents who used their first amendment free speech rights to speak at school board meetings as “domestic terrorists.”
Running on popular “law and order” and “parental rights” platforms that ultimately helped both Youngkin and Miyares win their November 2021 elections, both pledged investigations into the Loudoun County school district if elected. Honoring his campaign promise, Gov. Youngkin did issue an executive order on his first day in office for a grand jury to investigate the assault and the county’s response to it.
In return, the school district filed a suit to stop the investigation, claiming it was unconstitutional.
Despite the school system’s opposition, on September 2 the Supreme Court of Virginia issued its ruling that the grand jury can continue its investigation. Part of the high court’s statement included, “The school board has offered no convincing argument for why the grand jury investigation infringes this provision…The school board will continue to oversee the county’s schools exactly as before. The constitutional power to administer a school district does not bring with it immunity from investigation for violations of the criminal law.”
In response to this favorable ruling for parental rights, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares (R), the Old Dominion’s first Hispanic to hold statewide office, issued this statement:
“As Attorney General, I made a promise to Virginians to investigate what happened last year in Loudoun County. In July, I defeated the Loudoun County School Board’s attempt to block the investigation in the trial court. Today, the Supreme Court of Virginia affirmed that victory. We are pleased with the court’s ruling and ready to move forward. This is yet another win for both Loudoun families and the Commonwealth in our fight for justice and answers.”
Likewise, Governor Youngkin (R) released this statement: “Today’s ruling by Virginia’s Supreme Court to uphold our investigation in Loudoun is a victory for parents, teachers, and students. After the Loudoun County School Board failed to address sexual assault incidents in their district, were not held accountable for their actions and continuously let down students and parents in Virginia, I signed an executive order on my first day in office authorizing an investigation by Attorney General Miyared into the Loudoun County Public Schools.”
As a result of the Virginia high court’s ruling, the grand jury has the green light to continue its investigations into the Loudoun County School Board and its actions.