HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) -A Hilton Head Island principal has been issued a reprimand by the state of South Carolina for unprofessional conduct.
Documents from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office show they were investigating allegations of a relationship in 2016 between Principal Amanda O’Nan and Beaufort County sheriff deputy, DeJuan Holmes.
Holmes resigned during the initial investigation in 2016, but requested to be interviewed by the sheriff’s office in June of 2018 to possibly get his law enforcement job back. According to his testimony during a recorded interview with investigators, Holmes admits to engaging in sexual activity with O’Nan while on duty and inside Hilton Head Island High School.
An audio recording says, in part, 'In reference to your relationship and her, according to the private investigator, he has video of the two of you in a sexual relationship inside the school. Did you ever engage in anything like that inside the school?"
“Did you ever do it while you were on duty?”
Now, O’Nan remains on leave for the time being.
Whether the allegations made in the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office recording prove to be true or not, those supporting Principal O’Nan say she should be working while the district figures out if anything inappropriate happened.
Three senior students have voiced their support for their high school principal.
“I don’t think it’s fair that she hasn’t had the due process, and we haven’t gone through the legal side of things to get her back,” said Zach Waters, a senior at Hilton Head Island High School.
Henry Noble, who retired as executive principal at Hilton Head Island Elementary School, said O’Nan should be assumed innocent until proven otherwise, as the American justice system requires.
“There’s an accusation made,” Noble said. "This accusation was reviewed, and there was no substance to it. It’s come back again. What is she guilty of? We don’t know if she’s guilty of anything yet. She says she isn’t, and I tend to believe her, but given that, why is she being punished? She’s one of the finest principals I’ve ever encountered. She does a terrific job, and while she has been at the school, she has done nothing but improve and improve and improve. Taking her away from the students and away from the school seems counterproductive.”
Students supporting O’Nan say there is no reason she shouldn’t be allowed to work at the high school while the district and state look into the accusations.
“Nothing has been proven,” Waters said. “We’re to the point where I think Mrs. O’Nan still needs to be in this building. There’s chaos. There are things that are going on in her absence where we need her here. She is a fixture at Hilton Head Island High School, and we miss her as a student body. We need Mrs. O’Nan back.”
A spokesperson for the Beaufort County School District said in a statement that “We will be discussing the state board’s order with legal counsel to determine what the district’s next steps might be.”