NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. -- Local groups are requesting that the North Carolina State Board of Education takeover the New Hanover County School District.
- Officials said the county has mishandled complaints of discrimination and sexual misconduct for almost 20 years.
- A former teacher pled guilty on June 25 to 59 separate sexual offenses involving 19 victims over more than 15 years while teaching at Laney High School and Isaac Bear Early College.
- New Hanover County school officials say they strongly condemn his actions.
Representatives from the Southern Coalition for Equal Protection Under the Law (SCEPUL), and Concerned Parents and Citizens 2020 went to Raleigh Tuesday making this request to the NC Board of Education General Counsel, Eric Snider.
"What we hope to happen is that moving forward the children of New Hanover County Schools system will be assured that they'll be safe when they go to school," said Reverend Dante Murphy, SCEPUL.
Murphy said New Hanover County has mishandled complaints of discrimination and sexual misconduct for almost 20 years.
And now, following the guilty plea of Michael Kelly, a former New Hanover County teacher, that's what the State Bureau of Investigations is looking into. Kelly pled guilty on June 25 to 59 separate sexual offenses involving 19 victims over more than 15 years while teaching at Laney High School and Isaac Bear Early College.
District Attorney, Ben David, said the Sheriff's office interviewed Kelly after his guilty plea, asking about Kelly's allude to the school system knowing about his wrongdoings.
In a statement David said, "In light of information learned, we requested for the State Bureau of Investigation to conduct an investigation of the school administration’s handling of the Kelly matter. Additionally, the Sherriff’s Office received information from members of the public detailing similar allegations unrelated to the Kelly case."
New Hanover County school officials say they strongly condemn Kelly's actions and that they will be cooperating with any and all investigations going on.
As for SCEPUL, they are trying to get on the agenda for the State School Board's August meeting.
"This problem to have gone on for so long, and covers so many victims," said Rev. Murphy. "It is just a tragedy. These lives are damaged forever."