I am writing in response to the article titled “Ziegler calls for changes to school division, laws, following pair of sexual assaults,” published on October 15th, 2021.

Ian Prior, executive director of the activist group Fight for Schools, and a critic of Superintendent Ziegler, claimed that “there’s no bigger tell of lacking accountability than blaming ‘the system’... systems don’t make decisions to put a student accused of rape back into school - people do.” However, I would like to disagree with this point. Society contributes to individual problems, thus it is necessary to take a step back and examine patterns to determine why these things happen and to devise an effective solution.

We must not focus solely on the student accused of rape, but rather analyze rape culture as a whole. For example, societal attitudes about gender and sexuality play a part in how rape is perceived. Another aspect that may come into play is place. Loudoun County is a very privileged, wealthy area, so perspectives and prior assumptions about sexual assault may be affected by location. Private troubles are often connected to public issues driven by societal forces. How does society view sexual assault, and how does that contribute to this particular case?

These are the questions that Superintendent Ziegler and the Loudoun County School Board should be asking.

Jaden Case

Ashburn

(1) comment

J Smith

Mr. Case,

One of the problems in blaming “society” for our problems is that it is an incredibly destructive and dehumanizing belief.

Individual freedom, responsibility, and accountability are all casualties of such a belief.

Blaming rape on societal attitudes about gender and sexuality or geographical location reduces individuals, as Jordan Peterson, clinical psychologist and best-selling author said, “to being puppets of social forces, powerless to rise above the communities to which they belong.”

What you propose in essence is that the rapist is a victim also. A “victim” of the community or society he was raised in.

Communities we live in shape us. They don’t define us.

We are each individually accountable for our actions. We each have an innate understanding of right and wrong. We each make decisions and we need to be held accountable for those decisions. To do otherwise is to infantilize ourselves, to say that we couldn’t help ourselves.

Let’s consider the Superintendent and the School Board. Are they “victims” of society for lying to the public and failing to ensure the safety of female students, especially while in the girl’s bathroom? No. They lied to the public and committed gross dereliction of duty.

Superintendent Ziegler and the School Board need to be fired for such tragic offenses while serving in the public trust.

What the new Superintendent and School Board should be asking is how to get back to the pursuit of excellence in every aspect of student lives.

Welcome to the discussion.

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