When Scott A. Ziegler was fired as Loudoun County Public Schools superintendent on Dec. 6, the termination called for him to receive a year’s salary and benefits in monthly installments which works out to roughly $323,000 in salary.
Ziegler, fired over his mishandling of the 2021 student-on-student sexual assault scandal, was terminated under the “without cause” language of his contract. The contract also includes a “for cause” section. It says Ziegler would receive no salary or benefits if he was convicted of a felony or misdemeanor.
That language took on new significance on Dec. 12 when Ziegler was indicted on charges of false publication, conflict of interest/prohibited conduct and penalizing an employee for a court appearance, all misdemeanors. But it’s unclear if LCPS will attempt to recoup any money paid to Ziegler if he’s convicted, or if the indictments would trigger language in the contract that says Ziegler could be fired “for cause” for “non-compliance with school laws and regulations” or “willful non-compliance with board policies and regulations.”
Through a school spokesman Daniel Adams, attorney and LCPS counsel Robert Falconi referred emailed questions from the Loudoun Times-Mirror on Dec. 15 to school board members. Board members didn’t reply to the questions.
Ziegler was hired in 2019 by LCPS and was named superintendent in 2021. He was fired after a special grand jury report concluded Ziegler lied when he said at a June 22, 2021, school board meeting that he had no knowledge of any records of sexual assaults occurring in school bathrooms. The report said Ziegler was aware that a girl had been assaulted in the bathroom of Stone Bridge High School on May 28, 2021 when Ziegler made the statement at the meeting.
After the Stone Bridge assault, the student was transferred to Broad Run High School, where a second sexual second assault occurred on Oct. 6, 2021. On Jan. 19, the student was found guilty of abduction and sexual assault and sent to a residential treatment center. The student entered a no-contest plea over the second assault.
The false publication indictment said Ziegler made the June 22, 2021, statement knowing that it was “false and untrue.” The conflict of interest/penalizing an employee concern a former Rosa Lee Carter Elementary School special education teacher who is suing the school board and Carter Principal Diane Insari Mackey, seeking up to $1 million in damages.
The former teacher, who the Loudoun Times-Mirror isn’t identifying because she asserts she’s a sexual assault victim, said she was wrongfully terminated after complaining about repeatedly being groped by a non-verbal fifth-grade student. An attorney for LCPS wrote in the lawsuit that the woman was fired for disregarding a corrective plan from staff for dealing with the boy and violating his privacy by sending emails with personal information about him to a fellow teacher’s private email account.
Ziegler’s payout has angered LCPS critics who were already angry about the scandal and the school district’s liberal policies and teaching on race and sex. “Retract Ziegler’s golden parachute,” Ann Mulhall, an Ashburn resident and vociferous school board critic, told board members at their Dec. 13 meeting.
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