MORE: Hundreds pack into Loudoun School Board meeting, most to support Dominion principal on leave
The Loudoun County School Board meeting room was bursting at the seams Tuesday night.
Close to 150 speakers came to speak on behalf of their beloved Dominion High School principal John Brewer who suddenly went on leave over a month ago following accusations of sexual misconduct against a former band director Brian Damron.
But several hundred parents, students and teachers left the School Board meeting with questions unanswered as to whether Brewer would go back to work.
Damron had served as Dominion’s band director from fall 2012 till January 2015. He later 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. Brewer, it turned out, had written a letter of recommendation for Damron after his leave from Dominion.
Leading up to Tuesday’s meeting, many in the community had thought the School Board would vote on Brewer’s termination, which was recommended by Superintendent Dr. Eric Williams, according to School Board member Debbie Rose.
But after more than three hours of public comment from hundreds of parents, current Dominion students and alumni who gave first hand accounts of why they supported Brewer, the School Board said nothing of the Dominion principal’s employment status.
Shelly Fabian, a Dominion band mother of 10 years, whose two daughters had Damron as a band director, urged the board to not fire Brewer, but change its policies instead.
“[Brewer’s] job requires him to obey employment laws. As to what you can and can’t do in given situations,” Fabian said. “LCPS policies limit what he can and cannot do in situations like these. Dr. Brewer’s accomplishments at Dominion show that he is an excellent principal. doing his job should not cost him his job.”
Dominion parent Lisa Toohey said Superintendent Williams was the one to blame for allowing Damron to resign instead of firing him, thus allowing the school system to “pass the trash” and let Damron move onto to work at a school in Florida.
“After embarrassment by the media … Superintendent Williams now decides to take action against the principal,” Toohey said. “Where’s the transparency in LCPS’ policy and actions? We as a community have learned nothing of this situation from the media, firing Dr. Brewer serves no purpose other than to make Superindent Williams look like he did something.”
Although many parents believe Brewer’s employment at LCPS has been terminated, the Times-Mirror and the public have repeatedly asked LCPS for answers about Brewer’s sudden departure. The public school system has refused to tell the public the reason for his Dec. 3 departure.
Brewer is mostly beloved by the Dominion community, which has rallied to his defense despite the troubling scenario surrounding his leave.
“I was curious if you guys knew that Dominion High School’s in the top 20 high schools in Virginia and in the top 500 in the United States?” Dominion High Senior Anika Maan told the School Board. “Our secret is our principal, Dr. John Brewer, our teacher that teaches us compassion and inclusivity, our principal who knows every single student by first name, last name and sibling, our principal who makes sure that every single student at Dominion High School has a home.”
“Dr. Brewer is the soul of this school and we the parents, faculty and students want him back as our principal,” Dominion parent Armando Justo said.
Following public comment, Byard said Brewer's name will appear on a consent agenda if, or when, employment action is going to be taken by the School Board.
According to an investigative report by Duval County Public School Police in Florida, the former band Damron made statements about relationships with former Dominion students and having to leave the school after being he was accused of sexual harassment.
The Times-Mirror later reported that 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.
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office opened an investigation into Damron in early December, but that investigation remains ongoing and charges have yet to be made.
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.”
-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
-Dominion High School community plans protest, show of solidarity for principal
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