Virginia Democrats’ Policy Change May Enable More Coverups of Misdemeanor Sexual Misconduct in Schools

Students walking the hallways are seen February 21, 2014, at Steuart W. Weller Elementary School in Ashburn, Virginia AFP PHOTO/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images)
Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images

Virginia Democrats quietly amended a law last year, softening a policy that, even in its current state, should have required Loudoun County Public Schools to report the apparent sexual assault that has roiled the school board this week, as parents accused officials of covering up a teenage girl’s rape because it would undermine a pro-transgender bathroom policy.

Before last year, Virginia Code § 22.1-279.3:1 required all crimes that occurred on campus to be reported to law enforcement. However, Democrats successfully pushed for an amendment to that law, replacing the word “criminal” with “felony,” leaving misdemeanors out of the law’s required reporting incidents.

Supporters of the amendment claimed the language change would “move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to reporting and tap into the experience and expertise of our front-line school principals.” However, the law’s detractors argued the policy would “make our students, teachers, and school personnel significantly less safe.”

The Democrats’ move is faced with increasing criticism after reports that Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia allegedly concealed the rape of a female student by a male wearing a skirt in the girls’ restroom. This alleged rape is required to be reported to law enforcement under the law in question.

National Review explains, “school officials would have been legally bound to report the incident to law enforcement since it crossed over the line from the misdemeanor of sexual battery and into the felony of sexual assault.”

“The school’s attempt to push through the scandal without alerting — and in fact while actively misinforming the public — in an effort to change school policy to allow biological males into female restrooms and locker rooms would have been made even easier had the culprit’s behavior not crossed the arbitrary line into sexual assault.”

The Loudon County scandal and increased focus on the Democratic amendment to § 22.1-279.3:1 come less than one month away from Virginia voters choosing a new candidate to replace Gov. Northam. Recent polls show republican Candidate Glenn Youngkin is shrinking the gap between the Democratic candidate, Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

The scandal and law are sure to be in Virginians’ minds on election day, as a new CBS poll shows that a majority of voters consider school curriculums to be a “major factor” in their voting decision.

According to National Review, “Sixty-two percent of voters say curriculums will be a ‘major factor’ in their voting decision, including 77 percent of self-described conservatives and 54 percent of moderates.”


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