Hilton Head High principal speaks out about allegations, investigation for first time

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“I believe we all have a purpose on this Earth.  I believe my purpose is to be a great mom to my three young kids as well as lead young people and teachers.”

Those are the first words of the first statement by embattled Hilton Head High Principal Amanda O’Nan.

O’Nan gave the statement to News 3 and placed it on her personal Facebook page. It is the Principal’s first comment since she was placed on Administrative Leave by the Beaufort County School system in January.

The statement continues on to talk about her personal life, and the media attention her situation had received.

 “I also know my failed marriage has made headline news and clearly personal matters have become very public.  

People often ask why I didn’t openly talk or “admit” to my shortcomings in my marriage, separation and divorce in 2016 but what people don’t know is that my superiors knew the issues, pitfalls and honestly has never wavered. I never denied anything that was true to my bosses.  I cooperated with district and state in 2016 with complete truth. Due to the fact in that same time frame the media, specifically the IP, wanted to know details about my personal life, I didn’t indulge nor share information…as I felt and still feel it is not the public’s need to know.  I also was in the middle of an ugly divorce and needed those matters reserved for Family Court.    I have not and will not talk about the details of my marriage nor divorce as that is the father to my three kids and still feel our matters are and were private.  For the sake of my own kids, I will not air dirty laundry. 

It is common knowledge that I found refuge in my school and work as well as relationships.  Right or wrong in your eyes, I did.  I’m sorry this personal matter has derailed attention from the accolades of our Seahawk family.  I’m sorry for taking away from the youth and our community.  I stand by never negatively impacting our beloved school.  I gave my everything to HHIHS.  

I ask the community to put this from 2016 behind us and allow my students as well as my three kids to heal.”

O’Nan was placed on administrative leave in January, just days after an interview with DeJuan Holmes, a former sergeant with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, went public.

In that interview, Holmes admitted to having sex with the principal after hours in the school in 2016.

That year, O’Nan had been cleared of any wrongdoing connected to the allegations. But in light of Holmes’ recent statement, BCSD Interim Superintendent Herb Berg opened a new investigation.

The state school board could have suspended or revoked O’Nan’s teaching license, but gave her the lowest level of discipline.

According to the state, “the evidence presented by the district would not support a conclusion that just cause exists to suspend or revoke the educator certificate.”

They did say that O’Nan “engaged in unprofessional conduct as a result of inappropriate conduct” and “just cause exists for the issuance of a public reprimand.”

Now, BCSD must make a decision on her future at Hilton Head High or with any school in the district.

The school system tells News 3 they were consulting their lawyers after the decision.

There is a Beaufort County Schoolboard meeting tonight. No word on if O”Nan’s situation will be talked about in the meeting or Executive Session.

In a previous statement through her attorney, O’Nan said she was pleased with the state school board findings and is confident she will be reinstated at the high school:

Ms. O’Nan is pleased with the findings from the State Board of Education and its recognition of her unwavering contention that her conduct had no detrimental impact on Hilton Head Island High School.  Now that the State’s investigation has concluded, Ms. O’Nan is optimistic that the Beaufort County School District will likewise conclude its investigation and her reinstate her as principal.  It is time for everyone to move beyond these stale allegations and to collectively work toward building an even brighter future for our school.

Moreover, Ms. O’Nan continues to deny that any sexual relations with the accuser occurred on school property and nothing in the Consent Order is to be construed as an admission on her part of such activity.

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