The Woodgrove Outlander

Editorial: School Safety

The recent arrests of teachers within the Loudoun County Public School system has raised many concerns among students and parents alike. Where is LCPs going wrong when it comes to school safety?

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Editorial: School Safety

Written by Hope Davison and River Stone

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In early October, a student was raped by his teammates at Tuscarora High School. Three weeks later, an Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) reading specialist was charged with three felony counts of unlawfully filming female students. Two weeks after that, a Park View teacher was arrested for an alleged sexual relationship with her student. Loudoun County Public Schools have been all over the news lately, and not at all in a positive manner.

Heinous, scary, and unbelievable, are all words that come to mind. But does this describe Loudoun County Public Schools? Where is this highly ranked school system going wrong in securing the safety and well-being of their students?

Some people are blaming poor communication, not as the cause of these events, but in handling the aftermath. Parents were rightly outraged when news of the Tuscarora assault was finally released eight days after the incident. Another communication mishap at Lucketts Elementary, sparked a growing concern from parents about their children’s safety. This incident occurred after a sheriff’s officer was seen on campus, while many were unaware why. It took LCPS nearly one month to disclose that the presence of the officer was due to a violent threat towards a staff member. Although the Superintendent of LCPS, Eric Williams, apologized for the delayed response, many parents in the Lucketts community are still left unsettled.

After the arrests of three LCPS teachers this school year on charges ranging from felonies to alleged sexual relationships with students, the county’s hiring process comes into question. All prospective LCPS employees undergo a background check, including investigations into their employment history and criminal record. Even with these background checks and screenings, some predators still slip through the cracks. The thought of another criminal lurking the halls of LCPS is truly disturbing.

What shouldn’t be forgotten, however, are the countless highly trained and trusted individuals who do work at LCPS. After the eagle-eyed Woodgrove staff member noticed the suspicious activity of Hermens (see School Security on pg. 1), the incident was handled quickly and effectively before classes even began.

We wholeheartedly believe that LCPS should be known for the things that make it so special: passionate and involved teachers, top notch facilities, and eager students; because we have both found a home within the bustling halls of Woodgrove. But the horrific events in recent months must not be ignored. LCPS needs to prioritize safety of the students and communication with the community, rather than trying to preserve their reputation.

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Editorial: School Safety