Parents divided after support meeting over teacher sex crime charges
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Providing support for parents and students was the main topic of conversation at a family support meeting Wednesday night for New Hanover County parents.
The meeting coming after Roland Grise Middle School band teacher Peter Frank was arrested last week and charged with child sex crimes against students.
Frank is the third teacher in less than two years to face these types of charges.
Some parents say they left the meeting feeling reassured.
“Today, I think is the beginning to a new day,” said parent Jermaine Armour. “I think that we left with okay, we feel that something better is going to happen and what’s next.”
Others, however, were less enthusiastic.
“It would’ve been nice having someone from the school board to be in this meeting,” said parent Cara Emerson.
Emerson’s son was in Frank’s class. She says it still scares her to know what Frank was accused of doing to students.
“To know that my child was that close to someone that could’ve harmed him, and I was sending him every day,” she said.
School and district employees, law enforcement representatives and organizations that help abuse victims were all in attendance at the family support meeting.
However, some parents say they weren’t satisfied with what they heard.
“It was said that now that they have arrested Frank, that we should feel like we’re okay now, that we’re safe,” said parent Laylah Marsh.
Marsh says another Roland Grise employee was sexting her child three years ago and school administration did nothing about it.
She says she also filed reports against Frank for other inappropriate behavior.
“My child has reported being verbally abused,” Marsh said. “There was foul language quite often used. There was visible witness of him appearing under the influence.”
While the message of this meeting may have been looking toward the future, many parents are having trouble forgetting the past.
“One child being affected by this is one too many,” said Emerson.
One mother tells WWAY she was actually turned away from Wednesday’s meeting because her child is still in elementary school and won’t attend Roland Grise until next year.
Frank is still being held at the New Hanover County Jail under a $750,000 bond. He is currently suspended without pay from New Hanover County Schools.