A parent who says a former Dominion High School band director made sexual advances toward her son is speaking up following an announcement that the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is looking into whether criminal activity took place while he worked in Loudoun County.
The Sheriff’s Office is investigating whether Brian Damron sexually harassed students while he served as the band director at Dominion High School from July 2012 to January 2015. The local investigation was prompted by complaints that Damron made sexual advances toward a student at Duval County Public Schools in Jacksonville, FL, where he worked from 2015 until last month when he resigned.
School records show Damron resigned from the Loudoun school system in January 2015 and that Loudoun administrators later wrote letters of recommendations that Damron submitted to Duval County Public Schools, as part of his application. He resigned from that post in Florida Nov. 1 following an investigation led by the school system into reports from a 15-year-old student that Damron made sexual advances toward him.
According to a statement released today by Loudoun County school administration, the school system received a complaint in 2014 that Damron may have engaged in inappropriate conduct while employed at Dominion High School. Wayde Byard, the schools’ public information officer, said the school division immediately referred the matter to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office.
“It was determined that the alleged incident took place in another jurisdiction and did not result in charges,” Byard stated.
The teacher worked at James Hubert Blake High in Rockville, MD, before coming to Loudoun.
Since media reports on Damron’s investigation and resignation came out in Florida last week, Loudoun administrators again reported the matter to the Sheriff’s Office. “Loudoun County Public Schools is working collaboratively with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office on the current investigation and pledges its full support and cooperation,” Byard stated today.
An investigative report from the Duval County school district in Florida found Damron had not committed a crime, but that he used poor judgement and improper communication with students.
Patty, who lives in Jacksonville, FL, said in an interview with Loudoun Now that Damron preyed on her 15-year-old son and touched him inappropriately. She wanted her last name withheld to protect her son.
Her son joined the band at a magnet school near Jacksonville, FL, over the summer as a chance to get to know more of his classmates. Shortly after the school year started, Damron gave the 15-year-old leadership roles, and often asked him to help him out before and after school. Her son saw Damron several times a day, for AP music theory and percussion classes, as well as band practice in the afternoons, Patty said.
Her son told her Damron was “coming on” to him, giving him frequent hugs and speaking to him in sexual innuendos. The student later wrote him a private Facebook message saying that he did not want to offend him, but that he wanted to make it clear that he was not interested in him. Damron replied with an email saying he only wanted to be the student’s friend, and later asked him to delete their message exchange for the protection of both of them, according to the Duval County school system’s report.
The next week, the boy came home crying. He later said, when questioned by the Florida Department of Children and Family Services as part of the school system’s investigation, that Damron had asked him to try on pants for the new band uniforms, according to the report. Then Damron told him, “let’s get naked,” in earshot of other students. He then put his hands near his crotch and commented on the boy’s penis size, according to the report.
The Duval County’s report also states that Damron had told his colleagues that he had a relationship with a former student from his previous job. His personnel record included letters of recommendation from the previous school systems where he had worked, according to a report from the Florida Times-Union.
The investigative report found that Damron did not commit a crime. He resigned Nov. 1, and the student later transferred schools.
Patty described her son as a shy kid who avoids confrontation. “He’s always been a teacher pleaser. If he’s asked to do something, he does it.”
She said her concern, and that of her son’s, is that the band director will get to continue teaching, in part because state law requires employees’ personnel files to remain private.
“That’s the real story here,” she said. “There is a disincentive to make this information public. It allows the district to just pass the trash to the next district.”
Damron’s teaching license is still valid, according to the Florida Department of Education.
John Brewer, principal of Dominion High School who oversaw Damron, is on leave, according to Byard. He said he could not say whether it was a voluntary leave on Brewer’s part or whether it was related to the Damron investigation. Parents have started a petition showing their support for Brewer.