New Hanover County holds school board meeting as community frustration builds


NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The New Hanover County Board of Education held a school board meeting Tuesday night, after taking little to no action since Roland Grise Middle School band teacher Peter Frank was arrested last week on sex crimes against students, the third employee in less than two years.

Parents are saying enough is enough.

“It’s just completely ridiculous,” parent Natosha Longo said. “I don’t think that our children are safe.”

Parent Dante Murphy believes the superintendent needs to be removed.

“I don’t think there’s anything outside of that happening that could satisfy this situation,” Murphy said.

He isn’t alone in this belief.

“Obviously he’s known about this for a very very long time now,” Longo said. “I think that he has this good ole boy mentality that makes him think he’s indestructible.”

Longo says her daughter was a victim and her pleas to the school board were ignored.

“A year ago, I came and spoke with the board and told her story, and asked them to put certain protocols and tactics in place to help combat the issues that we were having. Obviously that fell on deaf ears,” she said.

The board did announce Tuesday night that Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Dr. John Welmers has resigned.

However, Peter Frank remains employed, suspended without pay.

Many in the community, including students, believe this is unacceptable.

“To know that that could happen to us and that we’re not really completely protected is kind of scary,” said sixth grader Hazel Eyles.

The board also acknowledged a resolution passed by county commissioners Monday night, offering to aid in investigations.

On an unrelated note, the board passed a resolution to provide one reverse osmosis bottle filling station at each of the schools that receive water from the Sweeney Water Treatment Plant. This is due to concerns over PFAS in drinking water.

There are two more special board meetings scheduled for this week. The first is Thursday at 4:30 p.m. and the second is Friday at 7:30 a.m.

Categories: Local, New Hanover