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Dominion High School community plans protest, show of solidarity for principal

A large group of parents and students came to the Dec. 13 School Board meeting to ask school leaders not to make a “scapegoat” out of Dominion High School Principal John Brewer amidst allegations against a former teacher. Times-Mirror/Alex Erkiletian
A large group of parents, students and community members are planning to protest outside of the Loudoun County Public Schools administration building Jan. 10 to show support for a Dominion High School principal who abruptly went on leave after accusations of sexual misconduct against a former band director unraveled in the public eye.

John Brewer, who’s been principal of Dominion since the school opened in 2003, has been on leave since Dec. 3. Brian Damron, who served as Dominion’s band director from fall 2012 until January 2015, resigned from a position in a Florida school system Nov. 1 after an internal investigation substantiated claims that he allegedly made sexual advances toward a student, among other inappropriate behavior. Damron made statements about having relationships with former Dominion students and having to leave the school after being accused of sexual harassment, according to an investigative report by Duval County Public School Police.

As first reported by the Times-Mirror, Brewer and Michael Pierson, LCPS music supervisor, wrote letters of recommendation for Damron to prospective employers after the school system reported an alleged incident of inappropriate behavior involving Damron to police in November 2014.

LCPS officials will not tell the public the reason for Brewer’s absence.

Parents organizing the protests in support of Brewer now believe his employment at LCPS has been terminated. Wayde Byard, LCPS public information officer, told the Times-Mirror he will not comment about “personnel matters” when asked if Brewer was fired.

“It appears that Loudoun County Public Schools has recommended termination of Dr. Brewer as Principal of Dominion High School,” reads an update on a Change.org petition in support of Brewer. “As parents and Loudoun County taxpayers we request better communication and full transparency on this matter from our elected officials and school administrators.”

The online petition has nearly 2,000 signatures as of this week. The group plans on organizing outside of the LCPS administration office at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 10 to show the School Board support for Brewer.

“The School Board will have the opportunity to review the actions and recommendation of the Superintendent's office to terminate Dr. Brewer as DHS principal,” reads an update on the petition. “We believe this hearing is imminent. Our support is absolutely critical to the outcome of having Dr. Brewer reinstated as our principal.”

The group first protested Brewer’s leave at the School Board’s last meeting Dec. 13.

Duval County Public School Police officials say they did not arrest Damron due to “insufficient probable cause,” though their investigation “substantiated” the accusations. An official from the State Attorney’s Office in Florida would not confirm or deny an investigation into the teacher.

On Dec. 6, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office told the Times-Mirror the department had opened an investigation into Damron.

On Dec. 8, LCPS released a statement about its previous knowledge of allegations against Damron. According to LCPS, the school division reported an “alleged incident” Damron to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office in 2014. The investigation didn’t go forward because the incident happened in another county, according to a statement made by LCPS. The school division will not give the public details about the nature of the “alleged incident.”

When LCPS became aware of new allegations against Damron in Florida, the school division says it “promptly” reported the matter to the sheriff's office.


Related coverage:

-Former LCPS band director accused of making sexual advances toward students
-Dominion principal goes on leave after allegations against former teacher go public
-Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office opens investigation into former Dominion High School band director
-LCPS reported allegations against former Dominion teacher to police in 2014
-LCPS officials recommended Dominion teacher for new job after ‘alleged incident’
-Dominion parents, students stand up for Principal Brewer to LCPS leaders

Comments


Hopeful,
Well said.

We are losing sight and perspective.

The victims here are the children.  We will never know the information available to the School Board, State Department of Education or other official body for the Damron situation or any other situation. To disclose the information would violate the rights protected to minors.

To assume we know all the details demonstrates ignorance. To act on it demonstrates foolishness.


LCPS has not disclosed why Brewer is gone, but let’s acknowledge it could be for something completely different than allegedly recommending a criminal who went on to prey on additional kids. An act even worse (in my opinion)performed by Dr. Brewer was reported to the LCPS, the school board, and the state earlier this year for investigation. Perhaps that - or any number of reasons his supporters don’t consider - is the reason for his departure. 

There are *lots of children and parents breathing relief Brewer is no longer around. They are people who care about the safety and well-being of our children and have their own stories to tell. Let’s hope their perspectives are also considered.


Dante: No. “LCPS music supervisor, wrote letters of recommendation for Damron to prospective employers after the school system reported an alleged incident of inappropriate behavior involving Damron to police in November 2014.” This is damning enough. You can’t take a chance with children. Too much smoke not to be some fire. Shame on those parents.


Brewer seems to genuinely care about the kids and punishment must be moderated.  But here are the facts:

1. Damron and a recent grad of Dominion stayed in the same room in a music retreat.  LCPS employees witnessed Damron and the boy entering and exiting the room.  Obviously nobody knows what went on in the room but…

2. Damron was seen socializing with the same ~18-yr-old while both were consuming alcohol.  This is what led to Damron being placed on leave in Nov 2014 and…

3. Damron admitted to adult faculty in Florida that he had multi-year relationships with ex-band techs.  He even showed pictures of the boys.  It is highly likely the boy at the music retreat was one of those boys and ...

4. That band tech was apparently still attending the Douglas school while serving as band tech.  That makes the boy an LCPS student.  Which means any relationship between the two would qualify as an inappropriate sexual relationship between faculty and student.

So I’m not sure why folks claim there is no possible chance Damron acted inappropriately in LCPS.  In fact, months before all this Florida stuff broke, a Dominion parent told me Damron was sleeping with young boys after graduation.  This was a known fact in that community.  Given it was hearsay, I couldn’t relay it to Florida reliably but I certainly would have if I had any kind of proof.  I read articles on the Florida school and their new music instructor months before any of this broke.

Support a good man.  But don’t lionize him or make statements that could well be completely false.


JPL -  No credible reports of Damron sexually abusing, accosting, or otherwise being secually inappropriate with students at DHS have been identified.  None!  That would indicate the Brewer did NOT know about any sexual attacks or abuse and that Brewer’s firing has nothing to do with the recent allegations about Damron’s behavior in Florida. If this continues to be the truth, would you join with the Dominion families and support Brewer against the school administration and board and retract your accusation against the parents as failing their children?


Callme, so let’s see. Two students commit suicide under the PF principal’s watch. Questions arise whether the suicidal parent notification procedure was followed. Principal resigns during the middle of the school year. You think this is normal? Maybe this is now common in LCPS but it is definitely not normal.

I guess since LCPS won’t release any personnel info, you will claim there is nothing to see here, right?

As to “uninformed”, have you read the VEA appeal brief? They still don’t understand SGP & VAM data! It looks like the only uninformed folks are card-carrying union members. You are a member of the LEA, right?


I don’t claim to have all the facts, but if it is indeed a fact that Brewer wrote a letter of recommendation knowing about the Damron issue, he should be fired immediately, and every parent supporting him while knowing this should be ashamed of themselves. They are failing their children.


SGP.  Does not seem that the PF principal abruptly resigned at all since apparently she is taking a job in Herndon.  This looks. Ore like an educator moving to Fairfax schools perhaps of the better pay, benefits?  Maybe the environment is better there because uninformed parents don’t complain as much about what they don’t understand?


“We demand that you bring back our great leader who helped pass along a known predator of young men to another school district”

Put THAT on your protest sign. 


@Spaceman - Dr. Brewer received and investigated student and parent complaints about lewd behavior by Mr. Damron. There was not enough evidence to terminate Damron’s employment, from what I can tell. (Same in Florida, by the way.) The incident that was reported to the LCSO was in regards to an underage, 18+, former student, high school graduate, drinking an alcoholic beverage in Damron’s presence. This occurred in the Tidewater area, and was the hook that enabled Brewer to force Damron’s resignation.
Parents are protesting because:
A. All of the above is murky due to the complete lack of information from LCSB; and
B. Dr. Brewer was likely not alone in making the decision, nor was he the only one to write a very nice letter of recommendation - and yet he is the only person being censured.
Why not Pierson, whose letter stated that he recommends Damron “without reservation”?
Why not the personnel director, or the superintendent? (BTW is that not a major conflict of interest that the person who could implicate Williams is being recommended by Williams for termination?)


” LCPS released a statement about its previous knowledge of allegations against Damron. According to LCPS, the school division reported an “alleged incident” Damron to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office in 2014.”  It has been reported that Dr. Brewer wrote a recommendation for the teacher. I don’t know what people are protesting.  How can anyone pass along a sexual predator to another a school!  LCPS and the School Board should be held accountable as well if the reporting is accurate.


Duncan_Idaho - He wrote a recommendation letter. He wrote dozens that year. He regrets writing this one.


The silence and lack of facts available to the public are not a good look for LCPS.  Perhaps the truth is worse than what we all are imagining.  There’s only one way to find out and nobody involved seems willing to do so. 

I have absolutely zero confidence in the administration to make decisions that are in the best interest of the ones who matter - our kids.  Hopefully the truth comes out soon one way or another.


3 things I have not seen addressed:

Where is the evidence that Dr. Brewer knew about the incident and was not encouraged by LCPS to write the letter?

What was the incident, specifically?

Is this incident and a single letter of recommendation worth the very real, very negative consequences coming if we as a community lose Dr. Brewer? Why not even a discussion of punishment lesser than termination, if the incident (the one we aren’t grown up enough to know about, I guess) warrants that?

If he did the wrong thing, then reprimand him, and everyone else involved. Then reinstate him. He is a powerful positive influence and he is needed at Dominion.


He needs to explain how his signature ended up on Damron’s letter of recommendation.


Now we learn that the principal of Potomac Falls has abruptly resigned.  Isn’t PF the high school with the rash of suicides where parents were not notified of potentially suicidal thoughts?  Was the principal pushed out like Damron but not fired?

And what has happened to Pierson?  He also wrote a letter of recommendation but does not appear to be on leave.  Is the action against Brewer for other reasons?

Did LCPS issue a non-disclosure agreement to LCPS employees regarding the Damron incident back in 2014?  Were LCPS employees barred from talking about the incident including to prospective employers of Damron?

What constitutes a firable offense?  Is a simple mistake sufficient or does it take insubordination (e.g. writing rec letters in direct violation of LCPS orders)?

How many other LCPS principals have written letters of recommendation for employees that were pushed out?

Is Dr. Brewer being given a chance to resign so he can keep his considerable pension benefits intact (if he were to continue working at another Virginia school)?

Lots of questions that could be answered by LCPS.  None of them are ever likely to be answered.

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