Airport High School Principal returns after district lifts suspension

Airport High School Principal returns after district lifts suspension

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - On Wednesday night, a special meeting was held by Lexington District Two Board of Trustees. It came in the wake of a tumultuous week at Airport High School.

Last week, district officials confirmed that Principal David Damm was placed on administrative leave.

Parents said the suspension came following comments Damm made over the school’s intercom using profanity.

District officials said he was placed on leave while they reviewed the incident, but because it was a personnel matter they couldn’t comment further.

WIS received a video from a parent at the school in which they claim Damm said, “No dance Saturday night either and I’m sorry for those of you who do the right thing but the dumba**** have ruined it for the rest of you."

Ahead of the meeting, district officials told WIS the superintendent ended Damm’s suspension and he returned to the school this afternoon.

“He is a wonderful principal and having him back and showing that he still has his authority and the support of the board is going to be a big difference as well,” Julianna Virgili, a parent of an Airport High School freshman, said.

A student sent WIS a video of Damm commenting on his return. In the video, Damm says, “I wish I had made a better choice, but part of being human is that we make mistakes and that’s okay. I also understand there was a process that had to take place because of what happened, and I’m alright with that too, but now it’s time to move forward.”

Last week parents and those close to the school told WIS that Damm made a series of announcements where he referred to students with profanity, and other demeaning terms over the intercom.

Those parents sent video evidence to back up those claims.

In one of the videos, the announcement said, “I can’t even say that represents animals because animals do better than that.”

Parents and students said the announcements were in response to a series of fights that had broken out.

“That concerned me at the very beginning just because of the violence and I don’t want her to have to try to learn in that kind of environment,” Virgili said.

Despite the controversial remarks most of the students we spoke with said they wanted Damm back.

“I want him in my school, I’m tired of these people running around,” Airport High School 9th grader Janna Lindler said.

Now that Damm is back, parents said they want a solution to the fighting.

“We aren’t going to be able to improve anything unless we work together. So it’s not the parents versus the board. It’s not Damm’s supporters versus people who don’t support him. We are all going to have to come together to make it work,” Virgili said.

District officials said that the videos and incidents at Airport High School are being reviewed and students are being disciplined per policy. They said the school has added an extra SRO and have taken other safety measures.

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