Davis Supporters Upset

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.

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  • by Stacey Location: DFS on Aug 25, 2008 at 06:37 PM
    Please know that Mr. Davis is someone who is good to all children - this was not about homosexuality - the ACLU came in and made it about homosexuality. This was about students writing all over lockers (defacing school property), students writing all over themselves (distraction in a learning environment), these same students were taunting other students about not being gay (harassment). If the media would cover the issues that caused this disruption then we would all be more informed. Students attending Ponce De Leon will tell you what I have written - I know because several have told me. Mr. Davis brought this school within 3 points of an A (something that has NEVER happened before), he also helped the school to make Adequate Yearly Progress (something else that has NEVER happened before). Please be well informed before you make degrading statements which can ruin a human being's reputation.
  • by Shane Wilson Location: Johannesburg, South Africa on Aug 24, 2008 at 08:10 AM
    You have NO IDEA what it is like to live in a police state where there are ZERO rights for its born-and-bred citizens! Sipho and I lived as a gay couple under the hell that was apartheid, where even the most basic rights of citizens were trampled on. We were active in our struggle for democracy, and he was murdered by apartheid agents in 1993 simply for being black, and believing that he, too, was a human being who had rights; I have remained a bachelor since then. We were two very ordinary men, one black, the other white, living goodly and decent lives, who just happened to be deeply in love with each other. What I read regarding the horror that has occurred with regard to this matter sickens me. You will not miss your rights until they have been whittled away, and then you will have hell right on the doorstep of your house.
  • by Laurie on Aug 22, 2008 at 01:02 PM
    This reporter made no mention of the facts in this case. I wish those facts had been made more clear. This dispute WAS NOT originally about discrimination, but was about conduct by the student in question. Don't ask yourself if you agree with Mr. Davis' Christianity. His religion is not on trial. Ask yourself if he acted in the best interest of ALL the students at Ponce de Leon High School. The Holmes County School Board supported the decision of Davis based on rules regarding conduct, and clothing which is disruptive. The ACLU came to that community with their resources in tow, and the school board then failed to take the necessary actions to follow through. Davis' counsel was clearly less than adequate for this case. Who, exactly, is to blame for the funds spent on this trial? Davis? No. I encourage everyone to be an informed viewer and reader of news reports. Facts aren't always included. And, if I might be so bold, I would be careful whose "comments" I believed as well.
  • by John Location: Lakeland, FL on Aug 22, 2008 at 07:33 AM
    geeesh ! More Liberals out there than I thought, who have absolutely no tolerance when it comes to Christians.
  • by john Location: chipley on Aug 21, 2008 at 05:52 PM
    jason enjoyed watching your segment on tropical storm fay
  • by Anonymous Location: pdl on Aug 21, 2008 at 04:27 PM
    Let me ask you this what about the fact that the school board agree with Mr. Davis at first then at the end not backing him up. Also going to school is to learn not for gay rights to start if someone wants to be gay that is their buisness not Mr Davis's but when it starts problems in school then his was his buisness. Someone's sex life should stay at home
  • by Karen Location: Ponce de Leon, FL on Aug 21, 2008 at 03:01 PM
    My community is paying a high price for the intolerence of some of our citizens, AS IT SHOULD !!! I vote in this county, and I will cast votes against any BOE member who supports Mr Davis. A child came to him for help and he failed her. (Carroll's letter might be a slanderous fake. I hope.)
  • by Dave Location: Boston on Aug 21, 2008 at 12:45 PM
    What would Jesus do? I'm not sure, but I doubt he'd turn his back on a child asking him for help.
  • by Sam Location: Bonifay on Aug 21, 2008 at 12:21 PM
    Mr. Griffin stated that Mr. Davis followed School Board policy. The School Board attorny responded to the ACLU with a letter stating that they prohibited the symbols and words in question. It would seem that the Superintendent and the Board should remove themselves also.
  • by TLA Location: Baltimore, MD on Aug 21, 2008 at 11:45 AM
    Why am I not suprised, thank goodness I got out of the south years ago. the intolerance of anyone different is just stifling.
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