Last month the Holmes County School Board removed David Davis as principal of Ponce De Leon High School.
Davis' supporters are voicing their opposition. About 100 Holmes County residents turned out Tuesday night to support former Ponce De Leon High School Principal David Davis.
"He didn't abandon you, but you abandoned him and you abandoned the values of the people of Holmes County."
Davis was relieved of his duties last month. He was accused of censoring students’ right to free speech when he banned them from wearing shirts in support gay rights. The incident resulted in the Heather Gillman lawsuit, which cost the already financially strapped district $350,000 for Gillman's legal fees, and that doesn't even take into account the district's costs. But his supporters defended Davis' actions.
"The principal's responsibility was to maintain order. If you had shown that David Davis was maintaining order, if you had presented the facts that these students were disruptive, if you had presented the facts that they vandalized our schools, if you had presented the facts you probably would have won the case and probably never would have had to make an appeal."
"It reminds me of the Wizard of Oz. You got a legal system with no brain, a board with no heart, and a superintendent that doesn't have one ounce of courage inside of him. I knew when my father was coming to the school system my senior year, I knew there was going to be trouble because I knew he did not fit the mold of what you were looking for, because instead of being passive he was going to be a real Christian and a real minister."
"He turned to me one night and said, ‘After this I now see how an innocent man can be lied upon and sent to prison.’ "
The majority of the crowd spoke in opposition of the school board's decision to remove Davis, but there was another view.
"We've heard about adults that have been criticized and put down, Christianity, salvation, but we've heard very little about the students."
The parent said the lawsuit divided the school and caused many students to be ridiculed, but she didn't stop there.
"That same freedom that is given to those who are different to express their beliefs is the same freedom that allows me to have a calendar with a bible verse on my desk.
Former Ponce De Leon Principal Buddy Brown returned to the job this year. He says raising test scores and reuniting the school are his two main goals.
Davis turned down a position at the Holmes County district offices to return to teaching.