FIRST ON 3 UPDATE: More angry emails surface from councilman


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It looks like Wilmington City Councilman Neil Anderson’s e-mail blasts didn’t stop at two.

WWAY obtained another e-mail sent by Anderson Tuesday night following a New Hanover County School Board meeting to vote to move the district’s Spanish Immersion Program from Forest Hills Global Elementary. During the meeting, the board voted to move the Spanish Immersion Program to Gregory School of Science, Math and Technology.

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This new e-mail was sent to School Board Member Janice Cavenaugh. Previous emails were sent to Ed Higgins and Jeanette Nichols.

“I was shocked when the following morning after the vote, I received a threatening e-mail from councilman Anderson,” said Cavenaugh.

At 12:48 a.m. Anderson sent an e-mail to Cavenaugh that read:

Tonight’s vote proves u r no longer worthy of being on the school board. Do
u even know what voted on?U r embarrassing to our county.   Please do not
file for re-election. We need so much more than u can give at this point.
Please retire?
U have failed so many children and families tonight u should b ashamed.
Simply pitiful. I will not rest until lose your seat. U r an embarrassment
to our county. Julian, print every word of it I’m good. We need major change
in school board and I plan to champion our way out of dark ages.
Talk about appeasement rhinos – see Higgins and Hayes.  Awful decision. Two
other more prudent options.
Everyone  shocked to point of confusion by your vote.
Neil Anderson

A friend tells WWAY Anderson has a daughter who attends Forest Hills. He also attended a school board meeting last month about the possibility of moving the program.

Thursday afternoon, Anderson sent us emails reacting to the comments.

I have apologized to the school board members I emailed…for the disrespectful tone of those emails.
It’s always better to cool off first rather than to react when frustrated and angry…not normal behavior for me.

I have always approached the school board as a concerned parent not in my capacity as a city council member.
This is personal business not city business, still I know the scrutiny of the press comes with the territory of public service.
The focus of your coverage should not be on me, rather the impact this hasty policy decision will have on the faculty and children at Forest Hills, Gregory, Williston, and whether our school system is fully prepared to support a thriving K-8 language immersion school.
The immersion program at Gregory will be fine.  My main concern is for Forest Hills Elementary, a thriving neighborhood school.
It was painful to see the heart and soul ripped out of it in one swipe by the School Board.
Pulling out this high performing group of children from every grade level, as well as the this block of active and generous parents
will negatively impact Forest Hills for at least the next 4-5 years.
Sadly, the majority on this Board has now created yet another poorly performing inner-city, neighborhood school.
There were two excellent compromises before the Board Tuesday night and four members chose to take most drastic action offered.

Thank you,

Cavenaugh acknowledged that Anderson apologized, but says he did so while continuing to to threaten her board position.

“It didn’t seem sincere and when you write an apology and still threaten, I don’t think the apology was genuine,” said Cavenaugh.

Also on Thursday, Nichols responded to our request for comment via email. She said in part, “I truly understand Neil Anderson’s  frustrations, and trust he will channel his energy to work for the continued success of the  immersion program.”



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