Thursday, December 7, 2023

New Hanover County Board of Education Chairwoman Lisa Estep issues statement on civil suit

(Port City Daily photo/Courtesy New Hanover County Board of Elections and New Hanover Board of Education)

WILMINGTON — Two days after a class-action lawsuit was filed against the New Hanover County School district and several top employees, the board’s chairwoman has responded.

On Thursday evening, Chairwoman Lisa Estep issued the following statement on behalf of the Board of Education:

While it is not appropriate to comment specifically on pending litigation, the Board takes all allegations of this nature seriously. The Board will file a response to the Complaint at the appropriate time. The Board expresses sympathy for any student who may have been harmed by Michael Kelly.

The statement, which stopped short of an apology, is in response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of at least three victims of Michael Earl Kelly; attorneys Joel Rhine and Jim Lea have requested the courts to allow a class-action filing, which would allow future victims to join the suit and, presumably, any resulting settlement.

You can take a deep-dive into what it means to sue a school system in North Carolina, as well as details of this specific suit, here: Deep dive: New Hanover schools face a class-action lawsuit, what does that mean?

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