A special education school teacher who spoke out, and was subsequently fired allegedly for out about her story has filed a lawsuit against the Loudoun County school board for failing to protect her.
The lawsuit has been filed by Erin Brooks, who as previously reported, is one of two Loudoun County public school teachers who said that their contracts weren’t renewed after they were subpoenaed by a grand jury investigating the district and after their complaints about teachers being inappropriately touched.
Brooks in particular said she had a student who was repeatedly touching teachers and students in a sexual way.
“My reviews have been stellar. I won the excellence and special education teaching award last year. Now I’ve been relabeled by you as unacceptable. And Mr. Ziegler, you will not renew my contract next school year. I’m thankful that I was subpoenaed to a special grand jury as a witness who testified to egregious decisions and behaviors. Please stop with the intimidation, stop with the defamation, stop trying to cover this up,” Brooks told the school board, according to video shared by LCPS citizen reporter Julie Sisson.
Now, she is suing the school board, saying that she lost her job, has been subjected to a smear campaign, and has been defamed by school officials.
“The Plaintiff clearly and unambiguously articulated her professional opinion to the administrators that the student understood the nature of the actions and was intentionally sexually assaulting her, other teachers, and student,” according to the lawsuit, filed by attorney John Whitbeck.
The suit claims “despite her repeated attempts to stop the assaults and her pleas to her superiors and colleagues for help, the Plaintiff was repeatedly dismissed and ignored by LCPS personnel who were in positions that could have stopped the assaults.”
The school board has responded to the accusations by saying that, while they “encourage all teachers and students to report any concerns about inappropriate touching or sexual assault to the appropriate authorities, we expect staff to do so in the process laid out in LCPS policy that is consistent with our need to protect the privacy of our students as well.” The lawsuit, however, her attorney rejected that claim, saying Brooks “did not disclose any personally identifiable information about the student to anyone other than school officials with a legitimate interest in information contained in an educational record.”
According to the suit, LCPS failed to follow and enforce its own policies in handling Brooks’ reports of sexual assault, and the decision to not renew her contract was retaliation for filing two Title IX complaints, testifying before the special grand jury investigating the school system, and for her public comment at the June 7 school board meeting.
The suit, which also names the principal of the school at which Brooks taught, seeks $2 million in compensatory and punitive damages. This litigation adds another lawsuit to the growing list of lawsuits that the Loudoun County school board has to deal with, as they are currently in the process of being investigated by a special grand jury for another sexual assault case they famously mishandled.