Lake Braddock Secondary School principal out amid federal Title IX investigation

- There is a major shakeup at the largest school in Fairfax County as the principal at Lake Braddock Secondary School is out.

Dave Thomas announced his immediate retirement Friday, but sources tell FOX 5 he was pushed out.

Thomas has been the principal at Lake Braddock for more than a decade and has been part of this school system for 25 years. His immediate departure comes after a federal investigation into the school’s handling of Title IX claims.

According to the complaint, in late 2015, Lake Braddock received complaints against then-girls basketball coach John Giannelli. Over the next few months, more complaints from parents poured into the school alleging Giannelli of verbal sexual harassment against the team’s players. Giannelli resigned amid the scandal in March 2016.

Parents felt school leadership took too long to act and should also be held accountable. But by the summer of 2017, an investigation by Fairfax County Public Schools found no wrongdoing.

However, in November of 2017, the Department of Education agreed to open a federal investigation regarding Title IX complaints at Lake Braddock.

FOX 5 spoke with a school board member who said victims need to be better heard.

“You’re not just here to educate children from an academic sense,” explained Elizabeth Schultz. “You have to take care of the whole child. [Victims] shouldn’t have fear in bringing something forward. You should have faith and be able to believe that your school system or institution will take seriously if they are serious allegations and be thorough.”

Thomas' departure marks the fourth person during the scandal who is now out. Along with Thomas and Giannelli, the school’s activities director Mike Clark and former football coach Jim Poythress are no longer with the school.

FOX 5 has learned Dr. John Banbury has been named interim principal at Lake Braddock until a new principal is chosen. He has been with Fairfax County Public Schools since 1993 and became the executive principal for the Region 1 office in April 2017.

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