VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Community members are speaking out in support of a Virginia Beach principal who was involuntarily placed on leave last week.
During Tuesday night’s Virginia Beach School Board meeting, students, parents, educators and others praised Dr. Brian Matney and demanded answers.
“I look up to Dr. Matney as my role model. He has inspired me so much that he is the main reason I want to be an educator,” said Kaiila McEntree, Student Body President at Landstown High School.
Matney, who has been at Landstown since 2012, was informed last Tuesday that he was being placed on leave. He has worked for the division for nearly 30 years.
According to his attorney, Jim Theuer, Matney was not provided with any explanation.
“Whatever it is, the process is truly puzzling to me. Dr. Matney, as any loyal employee should, should know what the charges are against him, what the circumstances are,” one community member told the board.
A school spokesperson said that the matter is not of a criminal nature. Beyond that, no information is being provided.
School board members, including Superintendent Aaron Spence, would not comment to 10 On Your Side, noting that this is a “personnel matter.”
“Ever since he’s been gone, the student body has been distracted and confused,” said Justice Baird, Senior Class President.
Sources told 10 On Your Side’s Jason Marks that the decision stems from a six-week long investigation following complaints made against Matney.
At the board meeting, community members expressed doubts.
“He himself would never treat any employee the way he has been treated in the last week,” one supporter said.
Matney is also getting online support. A change.org petition is making its rounds on the internet. The petition states: “Dr. Brian Matney engrained the concept of “UNITY” into his schools. Let’s UNITE as one to help bring back a great man. Please sign the pledge to show support for Dr. Matney, to get answers, and to bring him back home to Landstown High School.”
In the meantime, former Assistant Superintendent Jerry Deviney is serving as acting principal. In a message to parents, the division called this a “short-term administrative change.”