150-Plus Speakers Will Address Loudoun School Board Tonight

Members of the Loudoun County School Board will get an earful tonight.

More than 150 people have signed up to speak during the public input portion of the board’s regular business meeting. That doesn’t break a record, but it’s awfully close. Hundreds have come out to board meetings ahead of attendance boundary and budget votes.

But neither topic is on the agenda tonight.

The majority of the speakers have indicated they will voice their support for reinstating John Brewer as principal of Dominion High School. Superintendent Eric Williams has recommended Brewer be terminated.

The principal has been on leave for more than a month. School system administrators have declined to specify why Brewer is on leave, but the move came as Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation of Brian Damron, who served as Dominion’s band director from July 2012 to January 2015 under the leadership of Brewer.

Brewer wrote a letter of recommendation for Damron that the music teacher submitted to Duval County Public Schools in Florida, as part of his application. Damron was later accused of making sexual advances toward a 15-year-old student there. No charges were filed, but the music teacher has since resigned.

The board is not expected to make a decision on the superintendent’s recommendation tonight.

If Brewer appeals Williams’ recommendation, the matter goes to the School Board. The School Board can choose to have an independent hearing officer review the information and make another recommendation to the School Board, which makes a final decision, according to school division counsel Stephen DeVita. Any discussion will take place in closed session because it is a personnel matter.

The other topic that is drawing a crowd tonight is the board’s vote on whether to add “sexual orientation and gender identity” to a list of characteristics protected from discrimination specifically stated in policy. The board has delayed the vote twice to seek more information from legal counsel, but is expected to make a decision tonight.

Once the board room—which can fit 500—is full, people will be directed to sit in an overflow room, where they can watch the meeting broadcasted live. The speakers will likely be asked to keep their comments to either one or two minutes; Chairman Jeff Morse (Dulles) will make that decision at the start of the meeting.

dnadler@loudounnow.com
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