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Can you hear them now? Loudoun County students walk out en masse, demand safer schools

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Hundreds of Virginia high school students walked out in protest on Tuesday over the Loudoun County School District and school board members allegedly hiding cases of sexual assault and pretending they had not occurred.

Loudoun County High School principal Michelle Luttrell permitted the students to take part in the walkout at her school.

“Students who choose to participate will not be penalized for their participation; however, we do ask that students who participate do so peacefully, without signage, and in accordance with the Students Rights and Responsibilities we all reviewed and signed at the beginning of the year,” she said in an interview with local CBS affiliate WUSA9.

“The top priority of Loudoun County Public Schools is the safety and security of students and staff. Keeping this in mind, Loudoun County High School will provide a designated, safe space for students to exercise their freedom of expression,” she asserted.

The students are demanding safety in their schools and are showing solidarity with the victims following the two recent sexual assaults.

Investigative reporter Scott Taylor with the 7 News I-Team tweeted, “Listen to Broad Run High students start chanting ‘Loudon County protects rapists’ & shouting other messages. Clarification: The suspect in both sex assaults at 2 different high schools in Loudoun County was not charged or convicted of rape.
@7NewsDC #7NewsITeam.”

The protest was directly connected to reports of a sexual assault that took place on May 28 in a high school restroom. A 15-year-old gender-fluid boy in a skirt raped a ninth-grader whose father would later confront the school board over the issue on June 22. The father, Scott Smith, was tackled and arrested at the meeting for taking offense to another parent and the board’s denial that the incident had occurred.

Another alleged assault by that same student occurred on Oct. 6 at Broad Run High School. The attacker has been charged for both incidents. On Monday, a judge found him guilty of sexually assaulting one of the girls in the bathroom in Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn according to Fox 5.

Superintendent Scott Ziegler has been excoriated for denying the assaults that took place at Stone Bridge High School or at any other Loudoun County public schools despite being aware of police reports that indicated otherwise.

“I want to acknowledge that our processes and procedures were not adequate to respond to these recent events,” Ziegler stated according to WUSA9. “It has become clear that our administrative procedures have not kept pace with the growth we have seen in our county.”

The law firm that is representing the Smith Family released a statement on Monday concerning the judge’s ruling:

We are relieved that justice was served today for the Smith’s daughter. This horrible incident has deeply affected the Smith family, and they are grateful for today’s outcome.

No one should have to endure what this family has endured, and now their focus is completely upon their daughter’s health and safety as she progresses forward with her life. She is a very smart and strong young woman, and she is deeply loved by her parents. Both Jessica and Scott Smith will continue to do everything in their power to protect her, and help her through this difficult time in her life. The Smith’s daughter is a survivor, and a fighter, and we are confident that she will grow even stronger with each passing day.

The Smith family wants to thank all of those in the community who have demonstrated their love and support over the past few months. The Smith family stands stronger than ever in moving forward to ensure that those responsible in the Loudoun County School system are held accountable, so that this may never happen again to anyone else’s child.

The family plans to sue the school system over the incident and the coverup.

There was massive support for the walkout on social media:

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