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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

New Hanover Board of Education fires Roland Grise teacher Peter Frank [Free read]

On Saturday, February 15, the New Hanover County Board of Education met to discuss Roland Grise teacher Peter Frank. (Port City Daily photo / Benjamin Schachtman)

WILMINGTON — After a closed-session meeting on Saturday morning, the New Hanover County Board of Education announced that Roland Grise band director Peter Michael Frank would be fired. The board passed a resolution and approved a termination letter for Frank; the letter lays out the district’s evidence and reasoning for firing Frank.

The board thanked Deputy Superintendent Dr. LaChawn Smith and general counsel Wayne Bullard for their assistance.

Smith issued the following statement:

Peter Frank’s alleged actions are reprehensible and we will work with investigators on his case in any way that is asked of us. We are committed to providing support to the students, teachers, and parents who have been impacted by his actions. We appreciate the public’s patience as we follow state law in his dismissal. The district is working hard every single day to improve our processes and put practices into place to hold teachers, staff, and administration accountable. We are already taking proactive steps to further ensure the safety and wellbeing of our students, and we will keep you informed in an open and transparent way as we move forward.

Chairperson Lisa Estep said the board had acted as swiftly as possible under the constraints of state law.

“Frank was suspended with pay on January 27, 2020, and without pay on January 29, 2020. New Hanover County Schools and the Board of Education followed steps outlined in NCGS 115C, which dictates the dismissal process for a ‘career status’ teacher. Frank had 14 days from January 29, 2020, to request a hearing and, having not received a request, the district moved forward. The cause cited for dismissal is in Frank’s dismissal letter,” according to a release from the district (the dismissal letter can be found at the bottom of this article).

Frank, 47, was arrested three weeks ago on a dozen felony charges of indecent liberties with children and students. He is still being held at the New Hanover County Detention Facility on a $750,000 secured bond.

Frank’s arrest led to public outcry when search warrants revealed that the New Hanover County Schools (NHCS) administration had not only documented previous incidents of misconduct by Frank but had also ‘counseled’ him over two decades on his ‘inappropriate relationships’ with students. In the ensuing weeks, that outcry was heightened and sharpened into calls for the resignation of (now former) Superintendent Dr. Tim Markley.

Markley resigned last week after reaching a mutual separation agreement with the school board; the agreement paid Markley $226,000 in severance and accrued benefits, barred Markley and the board from ‘disparaging’ each other, and legally requires Markley to continue providing his full cooperation with civil lawsuits against the school and investigations by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights and other agencies.

NHCS letter of termination for Peter Michael Frank by Ben Schachtman on Scribd

NHC Board of Education resolution to terminate Peter Frank by Ben Schachtman on Scribd

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