Editorials

Principal sex-in-school case demands Beaufort County School District to come clean, now

Hilton Head Island High School Principal Amanda O’Nan
Hilton Head Island High School Principal Amanda O’Nan

We have reached a new pivotal moment in the future of the the Beaufort County School District.

The case of Hilton Head Island High School Principal Amanda O’Nan demands response from our local leaders.

Will they step up and answer the questions the community has, or will they stick with the embarrassing and consistently failed strategy of obfuscation and hiding. A new superintendent and new school board brings hope. The fact that they have been sitting on an investigation of O’Nan for four weeks raises concerns that the district is being governed by fear. Fear of more bad publicity. Fear of O’Nan’s lawyers. Fear of more layers of a rotten onion being peeled away with every new revelation.

There are questions that need answers.

  • What evidence was found in the O’Nan investigation?
  • How thorough was the investigation and who conducted each part?
  • What caused the transfer of H.E. McCracken principal Jerry Henderson, and why were the two principals treated differently?
  • Was the 2016 investigation into O’Nan a sham? Was a report even filed? Was anyone interviewed? Either then-Superintendent Jeff Moss or current human resources and security officials are lying. What’s the truth, and why did it happen the way it did?
  • If there was deceit or coverup, who all in the inner circle was involved and has their credibility been shattered to the point they can no longer serve in their current roles?

We need to hear from our interim superintendent, Herbert Berg. We do not need to read some carefully crafted statements that shift blame or obfuscate. We do not need to hear from a district spokesman. We need the leader to lead.

The district will want to move on. We understand. Moss wanted to move on from the controversy surrounding the hiring of his wife, Darlene, to a high-paying district job he specifically created.

He couldn’t understand why the newspaper, and the community, wouldn’t let it go. We were never sure whether Moss was getting the worst community relations advice ever given, or whether he was just too stubborn or removed from the reality of the situation to grasp its depth.

Moss wanted us all to move on, but we couldn’t. We wouldn’t. Community trust was broken and no one was willing to do what it took to repair it.

So here we are now, at a new pivotal moment.

What happens next will tell us a lot about whether, as we all hope, we are headed into a new era with new direction.

A direction devoid of gamesmanship and secrecy.

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