Petition to remove former employee’s name from high school stadium gaining traction

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A petition to remove former Deputy Superintendent Rick Holliday’s name from Laney High School’s football stadium is gaining traction as parents respond to the idea.

The petition alleges Holliday knew of sexual misconduct allegations against former teacher Michael Kelly and failed to report them.

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Chris Sutton was a student at Laney and started the petition about a week ago.

“Every single time that you see a name on a place, it should stand for something,” Sutton said. “And what he stands for is not what you need inside of a high school, and I really truly hate to see it up there.”

Holliday announced his retirement last year just days after Kelly pleaded guilty.

“It has us asking our children questions about their teachers and their staff and their leaders in our educational system that I didn’t think we would ever have to ask,” said parent Webster Gomez.

Holliday served as principal at Laney while Kelly was a teacher there, and part of his duties as Deputy Superintendent included handling the allegations of sexual abuse.

Holliday is under investigation by the State Bureau of Investigations, but has not been charged.

“I definitely agree to let due justice run its course, but it’s getting harder and harder to believe that anyone in any type of leadership was completely oblivious to what was going on,” Gomez said.

At the time of this posting, the petition had more than 3,500 signatures.

New Hanover County School Board Member Judy Justice says it will be tricky handling a name change since this type of situation hasn’t happened in the county before. However, she says she’d like to add it to the agenda for discussion.