Dominion High School principal John Brewer was put on administrative leave last month, pending an investigation into Brewer’s possible knowledge a former band teacher’s inappropriate behavior toward students. That action by the Loudoun County Public School System (LCPS) has not been popular with a group of vocal Dominion parents and students, nor with the Loudoun County community-at-large, and protests have continued asking for reconsideration and greater transparency. For his part, Superintendent of Schools Eric Williams has recommended that the county fire Brewer.
LCPS broke its silence on the matter on Jan. 26, after more than 70 people spoke in support of reinstating Brewer during a regular meeting of the Loudoun County School Board on Jan. 24.
“Several weeks to multiple months may elapse between an employee taking leave in connection with an investigation and action by the School Board on a recommendation for dismissal,” LCPS Public Information Officer Wayde Byard said in a statement to Dominion parents. “The time this process requires is not solely dependent on the timing of actions by LCPS, but instead is also significantly affected by the timing of actions of others, including the involved employee and his/her attorney.”
Byard also said that even though the involved employee is entitled to request and receive a statement of the reasons for the recommendation, these reasons are not released to the public by LCPS. Also, no information is made available regarding how far along a recommendation is in the process.
“LCPS acknowledges that situations in which an employee is on extended leave may be very difficult for students, parents, and other employees. LCPS recognizes that much of this difficulty, and the emotion that comes with it, is caused by a lack of information available to the public,” Byard said.
“You’ve heard a lot about leadership tonight because that is certainly a top quality… of Dr. Brewer and when it’s so difficult to retain great leadership in organizations, it prompts the question, why then are we trying to run off a great leader — one of the best in Loudoun County,” Megan Mancuso said.
A number of parents questioned the administration’s motive in wanting to fire Brewer, and pointed out since Williams and Assistant Superintendent Cynthia Ambrose joined the LCPS administration, 10 principals have resigned or retired.
“Are those forced? Maybe. Are they leaving because they’re simply not going to work in an environment where fear and control and secrecy are put first,” Mancuso said.
Parents, students, alums and staff of Dominion High School spoke out in support of Brewer. Many shared personal anecdotes of times Brewer stepped in to make students and staff feel included and at home in Dominion.
“I’ve worked for many people. Primarily, those people worked under power and control. I love Dr. Brewer because he works for respect and trust. I am an openly gay teacher working for Loudoun County Public Schools. I am not protected, but Dr. Brewer embraces me because he knows I care for children,” DHS English teacher Kim Worth said.
Speakers had a minute to share their comments with the board. Upon running out of time, many cut their comments short by saying “bring him back.”
Notwithstanding the LCPS statement, little appears to have changed and Brewer remains on leave.