The Prince William County School Board announced Friday afternoon that it has hired an outside law firm this week as part of the investigation into the Twitter use of Superintendent Steve Walts.
The board previously retained an outside forensics firm in April to review the account, @SuperPWCS, following a complaint from a county resident regarding messages between the account and students, as well as photos of students on the page, that raised questions about parental notification.
After the complaints were made public May 7, Walts announced that he was temporarily suspending use of the account. The account continued "liking" student posts until May 11.
On May 12, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors voted to request 18 months of direct messages from the account through the Freedom of Information Act.
The School Board held a virtual meeting Wednesday, with a closed session, and voted afterward 8-0 to hire the outside legal team. The board didn't specify the firm's role at the time.
"On Wednesday, the board voted to retain the law firm of Hunton Andrews Kurth to conduct an independent investigation of the allegations and oversee any ongoing work by the forensics firm," according to a statement from the School Board on Friday.
"The safety and well-being of our entire school community remains our top priority, and we are committed to conducting a fair and balanced assessment of these allegations," the statement read.
In a statement on Twitter on May 7 that Walts has since removed, the superintendent called the claims against him “a partisan and personal attack" during his contract renewal period.
Brentsville resident Guy Morgan filed the complaints in March and early April.
Morgan said he did not think it was appropriate for Walts to hold a position of power and to speak privately to students at all times of the day through Twitter.
“I would imagine parents don’t know he’s interacting with their kids,” he said.
Walts said because the account is an official account, managed in part by the communications staff, no messages conducted through this account were private.
In Morgan’s complaint, he said school employees, including Walts, should only email students from official school email accounts and include the student’s parents on any emails. Morgan also said in the complaint Walts has not intervened when inappropriate comments are made in reply to his tweets.