Head of Damien Memorial School ousted hours after reports of widespread staff dismissals

Updated: Jun. 26, 2020 at 7:56 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The head of Damien Memorial School was relieved of his duties on Thursday, hours after it was reported that he had dismissed as many as 20 of the school’s faculty and staff members.

A letter sent to parents and Damien community members late Thursday confirmed the decision by the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers to move in another direction, saying a decision had been made ‘that Brother Brian Walsh will not be returning to Damien Memorial School.'

The school’s principal, Dr. Kyle Atabay, has been named head of school for the 2020-2021 school year, the letter says. The search for a new school president will occur during the fall.

It’s not yet known whether the positions Walsh eliminated ― in what appears to have been one of his final acts as school president ― will be reinstated.

Hawaii News Now has learned that Walsh was summoned to New Jersey to meet with the Christian Brothers, which oversees Damien Memorial School, over his handling of several recent incidents, including the personnel changes.

Multiple sources tell Hawaii News Now that Walsh dismissed numerous employees by mail in two rounds of letters that were dated June 17 and June 24.

“At the present time we do not have a position for you in the new school year that begins on August 3, 2020,” reads a portion of the letter, which was signed by Brother Walsh.

Head football coach Eddie Klaneski was among the school employees whose positions were terminated, as were the school’s boy’s and girl’s basketball coaches.

Brother Walsh was also involved in a recent controversy surrounding the temporary cancellation of the school’s 2020 commencement ceremony.

That decision was overturned after widespread backlash from the school community.

This story will be updated.

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