John Brewer has accepted a conditional reinstatement on March 29 as principal of Loudoun County’s Dominion High School. The news comes nine days after the Loudoun County School Board’s unanimous decision to first terminate his continuous contract, then offer him a conditional re-hire.
School Board Chair Jeff Morse (Dulles) confirmed Brewer’s return in an email to the Tribune.
A parent leader of the Support Dr. Brewer Facebook group has said earlier in the day March 29 that Brewer told them he intended to return to Dominion and is reviewing the paperwork with his counsel.
In a split vote during a closed March 20 session, the board offered to re-hire Brewer on a year-to-year basis for the next three years with conditions. He was given 10 days to accept the offer or it would expire. Eric Hornberger (Ashburn), Brenda Sheridan (Sterling) and Jill Turgeon (Blue Ridge) voted against the motion to re-hire.
The other conditions include training on child abuse and neglect reporting directed by Superintendent Eric Williams, training in recognizing and reporting instances of inappropriate relationships between staff and students as well as understanding laws related to the practice of religion in public schools.
Brewer was placed on administrative leave on Dec. 3, 2016, following allegations against former Dominion band instructor Brian Damron and Brewer’s letter of recommendation on Damron’s behalf.
Community support coalesced around Brewer, with hundreds of Loudoun parents, students and alumni coming to board meetings to testify on his behalf. Brewer’s church, Reston Bible Church, also rallied behind him and released a statement on March 26 about the investigation.
“Several weeks ago, an independent hearing officer chosen by the Loudoun County School System heard two days of testimony from the Superintendent, school attorney, John and his attorney. The testimony centered on eight specific charges on why John should be terminated as principal,” the statement said. “The hearing officer concluded that none of the specific eight charges – considered either individually or collectively – warranted termination. In summary, the hearing officer ruled 8-0 in favor of John as it pertains to termination. Nevertheless, the hearing officer did recommend some form of probation.”
The statement continued to say that Brewer acknowledged there were some procedural matters that he should have paid more attention to. Furthermore, the statement said Brewer has never ignored or treated lightly any allegations of misconduct by any teacher or student, and he has never coerced or manipulated any student to ever attend Reston Bible Church.
“It is also noteworthy that the teacher who was the catalyst for all this applied to multiple school systems around the country including the one in Florida. Each of them, except Florida, contacted either LCPS or John to further inquire why the band teacher abruptly resigned,” the statement said. “After hearing a fuller explanation, all of them declined to extend an offer. Again, only the school system in Florida did not perform the due diligence all the other school systems did.”
School Board member Debbie Rose (Algonkian) released a statement March 28 about her vote on the Brewer decision. She said after carefully considering the hearing record, she concluded that while there were lapses in judgment for which consequences were appropriate, the evidence weighed in favor of offering Brewer an opportunity to return to his position on April 17.
“In my opinion, this process has raised questions about the effectiveness of several LCPS policies, regulations, and practices. I will support a thorough review of the entire process in an effort to determine what, if any, revisions or improvements can be made to LCPS policy and procedure. There is always room to learn from past experience and make improvements. I have no doubt that this is one position we all support,” Rose said.
Update 1:53 March 29: The story was updated to show Brewer had accepted reinstatement.