“I DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW YOU CAN BE A PEDOPHILE AND KEEP YOUR JOB”: 12-YEAR OLD ASKS NHC SCHOOL BOARD
February 5, 2020
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Parents packed the New Hanover County School Board meeting Tuesday, demanding for superintendent Tim Markley to be removed.
Many of those parents and even a 12-year-old girl spoke out about the school sex scandal.
This all comes after investigators arrested Roland Grise band teacher, Peter Frank.
Frank is charged with a dozen felony sex crimes against female students.
It’s the third arrest of a school system employee on these types of charges within the past two years.
This was the second time this week the board met and did not mention the sex scandal. The meeting left parents more frustrated than ever after the board failed to discuss Peter Frank or any administration issues.
Dozens took to the podium during the public comment period.
“I am here today as a constituent, as a voter, and as a concerned parent to call for the resignation, the immediate resignation of Superintendent Tim Markley, Chairwoman Lisa Estep, and the following board members, David Wortman, Jeanette Nichols, Bill Rivenbark, Nelson Beaulieu, and Stephanie Adams, leaving Judy Justice the only person to sit on this board, therefore, making her Madam Chairwoman,” said one parent.
“We’re done with excuses and we’re done with blindly sending our children to schools you govern where they are clearly not safe,” said a social worker.
“It looks like things are being covered up,” said one mother.
Almost every person who spoke called for the termination of Markley or board members.
"I call for the immediate termination of Tim Markley and I call for an investigation into all board members as well as all admin in the district,” one speaker said.
“We call for the immediate termination of our superintendent for his role in over two decades of corruption and covering up child sexual abuse. We call for a complete change in leadership from top to bottom,” said another.
Hazel Eyles, a 12-year-old Murray Middle School student, stood in front of the board and hundreds of community members to read a statement she wrote herself.
“I asked my mom if I could speak tonight because, although I haven’t been directly impacted by this issue, I don’t understand how you can be a pedophile and keep your job,” she said. “If I do something bad at school I could be suspended or expelled, but if a teacher does something to a child, they keep their job. People should be held accountable if they do something wrong, and the teachers that have hurt these kids were not held accountable.”
Roland Grise Gifted Education Specialist Kendra Harrison also was at the meeting Tuesday. She said she feels like this is a top-down issue.
“One of the things that we really pride ourselves on as teachers are the relationships we build with our students and their families and for this board to allow that to be taken away in a second, it’s absolutely devastating,” Harrison said.
She talked about the devastation it has caused the school and the students.
“I have never been embarrassed to say that I work at Roland Grise. I’ve spent the majority of my career in that school, this is my ninth year there and I was embarrassed to wear my badge,” Harrison said. “You would question if you could even put this on your resume for heaven’s sake. The educators that I work with every day are dedicated, they’re smart, they’re caring, we’re obviously not in this for the money. We love what we do, and it’s a shame that someone would take what we’ve spent our life’s work on and turn it into the spectacle that it’s become.”
Despite repeated calls for Markley to be removed, he’s still on the job.
Another high ranking school administrator, though, is not. Dr. John Welmers, the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources resigned.
No reason was given.
In fact, it did not come up during the meeting. Welmers’ resignation was announced in a press release sent during the meeting.
Message from Executive Director Laura A. Ahearn: Please visit our website at www.crimevictimscenter.org for news, information and resources in your community.