Commissioners release statement about ‘ongoing issues’ inside NHCS

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New Hanover County Commissioners on Dec. 2, 2019. (Photo: New Hanover County)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County Commissioners are speaking out about the recent controversy surrounding New Hanover County Schools and their handling of sexual assault investigations.

Peter Frank became the third teacher accused of sexual misconduct and arrested in less than two years.

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Search warrants revealed Frank had been counseled on inappropriate relationships with students during his time at the school. Frank, a middle school band teacher at Roland Grise, is currently suspended without pay.

Commissioner Julia Olson-Boseman released the following statement during Monday’s county commission meeting.

“In light of the most recent allegations against a New Hanover County Schools teacher and systemic, ongoing issues within our school system, the Board of Commissioners has been in regular contact with the school board letting them know that the county is ready to support them in any way possible.

So at today’s meeting, the county announced that we will provide support teams to aid in personnel investigations at all public schools. We are asking the school board to approve the county’s proposal and grant our teams access when they meet tomorrow, so that we can examine where things stand regarding any open or prior complaint about school personnel that involves inappropriate student contact. 

The county has three teams ready that include investigators from the Sheriff’s Office who are focused on crimes against children and forensic social workers that specialize in child abuse and neglect. These teams are specially trained to examine these types of situations and, once approved and requested by the school board, they will begin their work. The county has also committed to provide resource support of school-based mental health counselors to support immediate needs and long-term assistance for students, teachers, and families. The county will also ensure that our school system is aware and utilize the community’s rapid crisis response program to support families based on the need.

This issue is of utmost importance to all five of your Commissioners, and we will do everything we can to ensure our children are protected and safe. We believe that a thorough investigation with the right support services – and then an ongoing protocol and policy that ensures this never happens again – is necessary.”

The New Hanover County School Board announced it is conducting its own investigation into the matter involving Frank. They will meet in a closed session Tuesday evening.