Landstown High staff survey reveals complaints under principal

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A Landstown High School staff survey may provide answers as to why the principal was suddenly put on leave last month.

Virginia Beach City Public Schools officials have not revealed why Dr. Brian Matney, a long-time employee with the division, is under investigation.

Using the Freedom of Information Act, 10 On Your Side obtained a climate survey from 2014-2015. The survey shows that employees depict a tense work environment.

“Teachers and staff do not feel comfortable speaking their mind and are fearful of repercussions if they do. There is a climate of ‘fear’ in our building,” wrote one staff member.

“No place for us to speak our minds,” reads another comment. “I have heard many a teacher remark that they feel bullied by the administration.”

There are positive comments written among the 58 respondents. The majority though are negative, referring to issues of bullying, turnover, favoritism and uncomfortable touching.

More than one staff member alleged that a teacher with cancer was banned from attending a staff party.

10 On Your Side reached out to Matney and his attorney on Thursday, neither could be reached for comment.

However Matney has addressed the investigation to a local media outlet. He has suggested that many of the survey’s complaints are the result of misunderstandings.

Sources revealed to 10 On Your Side weeks ago that the administrative probe relates to complaints regarding the way Matney treats his staff members.

Publicly though, Matney has received immense support in response to the division’s action.

Community members launched a petition to bring Matney back. So far, more than 1,600 people have signed. Comments on the site refer to him as a role model.

Similar sentiments were heard during a recent school board meeting . Parents, students and others in the community hailed Matney as a top-notch educator who cares deeply about his staff and students.

Board members, along with the superintendent, told 10 On Your Side during the meeting that they could not comment on the “personnel matter.”

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