Months of unrest in the Dominion High School community over its suspended principal is expected to culminate Monday night, when the Loudoun County School Board has called a closed session meeting.
Principal John Brewer has been on leave since late November and Superintendent Eric Williams and other senior staff members have recommended he be fired. He was placed on leave after the 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.
After Damron resigned from Loudoun County Public Schools in January 2015, records show that Brewer wrote a letter of recommendation for the band director that he submitted to Duval County Public Schools in Florida. Damron was later accused of making sexual advances toward a 15-year-old student there. No charges were filed, but the band director has also since resigned from that school system.
The Sheriff’s Office has closed the case against Damron pending new information, finding that no criminal activity took place in Loudoun. “Detectives conducted numerous interviews and followed up on multiple leads during the course of the investigation. No criminal charges are pending,” Public Information Officer Kraig Troxell said last month.
It’s unclear if Brewer’s letter of recommendation is what put his job at stake. LCPS Music Supervisor Michael Pierson also wrote a letter of recommendation on Damron’s behalf, according to records from Duval County Public Schools, but has not been placed on leave.
On Feb. 22 and 23, Brewer went before an independent hearing officer. His attorney and school system’s legal counsel presented information to the hearing officer, who was expected to make his own recommendation on Brewer’s employment status to the School Board. The board could make a final decision as early as Monday.
Ahead of making a decision, board members this week received a letter signed by the majority of the high school’s staff members asking that Brewer be reinstated. It was signed by 82 teachers and staff members, about 70 percent of the school’s employees.
Teachers who signed the letter stated that they organized the petition because inaccurate reporting has created misconceptions that the faculty is divided on whether Brewer should be allowed to return to his post. “… Nonetheless, most of our faculty have signed the letter, demonstrating their agreement to Dr. Brewer’s reinstatement,” they wrote.
July 2012 – Brian Damron is hired as Dominion High School’s band director.
November 2014 – Loudoun County Public Schools received a complaint 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.
January 2015 –Damron resigns from Loudoun County Public Schools. Later this year, he is hired to teach in Duval County, FL.
Late November/Early December 2016 – After Duval County, FL, opened an investigation into Damron, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office launched its own investigation to see if any criminal activity took place while he taught at Dominion High School.
Dec. 2, 2016 – Principal John Brewer is placed on administrative leave. Supporters start a petition requesting that he be reinstated. (It now has 3,009 signatures.)
Dec. 8, 2016 – In an interview with Loudoun Now, a Florida mom said Damron, working as a school band director there, inappropriately touched her 15-year-old son. She said she made several calls to Dominion High School Principal John Brewer and the Department of Personnel Services and did not receive a call back. The investigation in Florida found that Damron did not commit a crime. He resigned that position Nov. 1.
Jan. 3, 2017 – A fundraising page at gofundme.com/support-dr-brewer is launched. (It’s since raised $36,684 for Brewer’s legal defense.)
February 2017 – Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office closes the investigation into Damron, pending new information. He maintains his innocence.
Feb. 22-23, 2017 – John Brewer goes before an independent hearing officer.
March 13, 2017 – Loudoun County School Board to hold a closed session meeting. The board could make a final decision as early as this evening.