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Former D'Evelyn principal convicted of domestic abuse withdraws as finalist to return as principal

The Jeffco school's search committee told parents on Monday that it will restart its search for a permanent principal later this year.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — A former principal of D'Evelyn Jr./Sr. High School who was arrested and convicted in a domestic violence incident has withdrawn from consideration to return to the school, according to an email from the school's search committee.

Anthony Edwards withdrew as sole finalist for principal due to negative feedback and "divisiveness in the community," according to the email obtained by 9NEWS, which was sent to D'Evelyn families on Monday.

Edwards was principal of D'Evelyn in November 2016, when the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office arrested him on suspicion of third-degree misdemeanor assault. At the time of his arrest, he was placed on leave from the school.

Court records show he was convicted in February 2017 of that assault charge and harassment. He was sentenced to two years' probation and was ordered to perform 60 hours of community service, court records show.

RELATED: Former D'Evelyn principal with domestic violence conviction named finalist to return as principal

According to Jeffco Public Schools, the D’Evelyn Jr./Sr. High Principal Search Committee had recommended Edwards as the sole finalist to fill its current open position for principal.

The district confirmed that Edwards had withdrawn himself from consideration.

The district noted that D'Evelyn is a Jeffco Options school and has its own bylaws and memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreements with the district. As such, D’Evelyn uses a school-run hiring process rather than the district's standard principal hiring process.

The D’Evelyn Principal Search Committee had arranged for several school community focus groups to be held this week, but those focus groups were now canceled.

"We will shift our focus to the selection of an interim principal and then restart our search for a permanent principal later in the year," the search committee's email says.

RELATED: D'Evelyn High School principal found guilty of assault

Jeffco Public Schools is allowed one non-voting member on the D’Evelyn Jr./Sr. Principal Search Committee, which is Community Superintendent Tom McMillan.

On April 14, he provided a formal letter to the search committee stating that he didn't support a recommendation for Edwards to be hired as principal.

"I am concerned that a recommendation to hire Mr. Edwards will be divisive, distracting, and disruptive for the school community, which is not in the best interests of our students," McMillan writes in the letter.

"To ensure transparency about my position through the next phase of hiring, I request that you notify Mr. Edwards that I do not support his being forwarded on as the sole candidate and I will not support a recommendation to the District for his hiring," McMillan writes.

Read McMillian's full letter is below:

This story contains previous reporting by Janet Oravetz.

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