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Eastlawn principal charged with sex offense to be recommended for termination

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Alamance-Burlington school officials announced Tuesday that Eastlawn Elementary School principal Daniel Stephen McInnis will be recommended for termination by the school board following his recent arrest for allegedly sexually assaulting a child, Alamance-Burlington school system officials announced Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, McInnis has been transferred from suspension without pay to an unpaid suspension, and retired longtime ABSS administrator Donna King has been appointed as the interim principal at Eastlawn Elementary School, school officials announced Tuesday.

McInnis, white, male, 43, of 632 Country Club Drive, Burlington, was arrested Friday, December 29, and charged with one felony count of a statutory sex offense with a child.  His bond was originally set at $500,000 secured and subsequently reduced to $250,000 during an initial appearance in Alamance County district court.

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Burlington police revealed that they had opened an investigation on December 8, after detectives in their Special Victims Unit (SVU) received information alleging a school administrator at Eastlawn was involved in misconduct with a student on school property.

Police say officials at the school system were made aware that the administrator was under investigation and cooperated fully during the Burlington Police Department’s investigation.

School officials confirmed that McInnis has been principal at Eastlawn for 11 years, since November 5, 2012; he had previously been the assistant principal at the school since July 5, 2011. He makes $114,851.16 annually.

McInnis was initially suspended with pay on December 12 but suspended without pay this week, according to ABSS officials.

In a statement issued by the school system, “We deeply regret these circumstances and the impact they may have on our students.  Our counselors and support staff stand ready to assist any students impacted.  While we must let the legal process unfold, any such allegations represent a breach of trust with our ABSS community.”

The police department has not received additional reports of misconduct and continues the investigation.

King, now interim principal at Eastlawn, had most recently served as the interim principal at Southern Middle School, following the departure of then-principal Matt Ritter in the spring of 2023. She later served as an interim assistant principal at Southern Middle School last fall, following the August 2023 arrest of then-assistant principal Tyler Kelly for an alleged felony sex act with a student. His case remains pending in Alamance County district court.

McInnis’ arrest marked the third ABSS staff member to have been charged with a felony sex act involving a student or a child during the 2023 calendar year.

Also charged in 2023 with an alleged felony sex offense involving a student was Ivan Danilo Ardila-Perez, then 37 and a Spanish teacher and soccer coach at Southern Middle School.  He was initially charged on April 26, 2023 with felony indecent liberties with a student and felony indecent liberties with a child.

Ardila-Perez was ultimately charged with a total of five counts each of felony indecent liberties with a student and felony indecent liberties with a child following an investigation by the Alamance County sheriff’s department.  He was placed under a $300,000 secured bond and remains in custody at the Alamance County detention center, where he is awaiting trial.

School board members voted to fire Ardila-Perez at their work session on May 9, 2023.

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