New Hanover County Board of Education recesses meeting due to unruly crowd

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The New Hanover County Board of Education recessed its regular meeting tonight at 8:30 p.m. after a passionate crowd got out of control.

Several groups came out for a variety of issues, like elementary school suspensions, critical race theory, mask mandates, and more.

50 people signed up to speak and the board voted 4-2 to allow enough time for everyone, extending the one-hour time limit. Vice-chair Nelson Beaulieu and Stephanie Kraybill cast the dissenting votes.

During the Call to the Audience period, there was a lot of cheering, booing, and yelling.

At one point, two people stepped up to the podium and started to speak out of turn, trying to take the time of someone who signed up, but was apparently absent.

One of those people starting yelling, and the meeting fell apart. The board took a break, retreating to a back room. They returned a few minutes later and voted 6-0 to recess the meeting until next week.

“It did get pretty much out of hand sadly, and so we will try to not have that happen again and learn from this experience. I wish that we could’ve listened more, it was difficult because of the audience response,” said board member Judy Justice after the vote. “Maybe in the future we can set some kind of parameters so that doesn’t occur again.”

“I think at some point passions were just so high it became uncontrollable so I think cutting the meeting short was for the best,” said member Stephanie Walker. “I mean we have a lot of work to get to and next Tuesday we’re going to cover the rest of the agenda I hope.”

New Hanover County Schools said the meeting will resume next Tuesday, July 20 at 5:30 p.m. remotely, and the general public will have the option to view remotely on NHCS-TV YouTube.

Justice and Walker say the board will have a training session on parliamentary procedure in August, which they hope will help conduct meetings in a more orderly manner.

You can replay Tuesday’s meeting here.

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