WILMINGTON — New Hanover County residents voiced their disdain with the New Hanover County School Board during a protest Monday afternoon in front of City Hall. Protesters carried signs and called for more diversity on the board, publicly addressing what protesters believe was a mishandling of a sexual assault case within the school system.
“Today we are protesting the hire over the summertime by the school board of a coach, and dean of students who has gone on the record basically being very sexist towards the young ladies in the schools. The board knew this when they hired him and they refused to address it,” Judy Justice, a protester said.
The incident Justice was referring to was reported on by Port City Daily in November; in December the school board issued a statement claiming ignorance to Ronald Wells Gulledge’s statements prior to his hiring.
Protesters also voiced their concerns with the stagnation of the school board, with several members serving on the board since the 1990s.
Read the original story here: She was sexually assaulted. She says what her school did next was worse
Lynn Shoemaker, one of the founders of Women Organizing for Wilmington, as well as a former New Hanover County educator, said, “Four of the members have been there collectively over 100 years, and as we need to be changing and adapting, so does our representation on that board. I am really disappointed in two things, one that our board is not reflective of our citizenry in this county … and that they are hiding behind their legal council and not responding to the public.”
Justice said that she hopes the protest will draw awareness to the situation, and get more residents out to the polls in 2018 and to let residents know about the kinds of people that are currently serving on the board.
“Another problem in this city is that too many people, too often do not speak out because they do not get a lot of support … especially the professionals who work with them, it’s very possible that they could lose their jobs. I worked for New Hanover School System in the 90s, and I know how they feel,” Justice said.
Michael Praats can be reached at Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org