Parents concerned after two Blacksburg High School administrators placed on leave

This comes after a petition calling for an independent investigation

BLACKSBURG, VA – Two Blacksburg administrators are on leave following a petition asking for an investigation into Montgomery County Public Schools.

Some Blacksburg High parents are concerned about the decision.

Last Thursday, Blacksburg High School parents received an email saying that principal Chris Stewart was placed on administrative leave.

Amanda Poff is the parent of a Blacksburg senior and said students weren’t informed about the change.

“They were not told anything. The parents were given something,” Poff said.

A short time later, another email was sent out to let parents know Assistant Principal Oliver Lewis was also placed on leave.

“Then several people started calling, texting, things were getting passed around the community,” Poff said.

Poff then connected the dots back to a petition we first told you about a few weeks ago, calling for an independent investigation into Montgomery County Schools, after the apparent murder-suicide of two students.

[‘To know she is gone is just unreal’: Parents of victim in Blacksburg apparent murder-suicide speak out]

She said if there is an investigation at the school, parents should know.

“You’ve got a community that is dealing with a horrible tragedy, and the fallout is still happening, and just to be a little more transparent and let people know more,” she said.

Poff said she has concerns as a parent.

“I realize that there are a lot of things that are confidential and things like that, but the lack of transparency, I kind of feel like this is a little bit of death by a thousand cuts in that it’s just one more thing that has been happening at our county and at Blacksburg High School,” she said.

Poff said Stewart was only the principal for a couple of weeks before the apparent murder-suicide took place and if they are investigating anyone, it should be the principal who was there leading up to the deaths.

“He’s trying to bring them together after a horrible tragedy, and now he’s just taken away with really no reasoning for them... We’re not trying to find a fall guy. I’d like to think we’re going to systematically do a safety audit,” she said.

We reached out repeatedly to Superintendent Bernard Bragen, but have only gotten a response from the district as a whole saying they can’t comment on personnel matters.

We also reached out to the school board, and got a response from one member saying they can’t comment, but will give more information when they can.

Poff tells us she just wants transparency on this and in terms of school safety.

“Feeling like something from this tragedy is changing how we process things,” she said.

About the Author

Abbie Coleman officially joined the WSLS 10 News team in January 2023.

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