My Turn, Your Turn: Releasing personnel records

By Gary McNair - bio|email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Last week in this segment I encouraged New Hanover County Schools to release the personnel file of Jessica Wishnask.

She is the former teacher who was arrested after being caught in a compromising position with a 15-year-old student.

Just days after that commentary, the school board released part of her file. We learned from the documents released that two suspensions given to this teacher were related to her contact with that same student.

If the school system had enough concern to suspend the teacher and launch an internal investigation - why didn't they also have the moral obligation to inform police?  As far as we know - they did not.  That makes it appear as a blatant attempt to sweep this situation under the rug.

And I just can't imagine why a recommendation letter was written for this young lady - so she could get a teaching job in another county.

This whole ordeal is just not sitting well with a lot of people, and I think it's crying out for a complete investigation.

That's my turn.  Now it's your turn.  To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at

Viewers' emailed responses:

I am appalled that this woman has been allowed to be near any students after the first incident!! As far as the personnel file, they should be kept private unless there are circumstances in which certain things need to be known. The police should have been informed about her situation with the minor from the beginning. This woman has been in our schools with our children for a lot of unnecessary time.


In reference to the letter of recommendation for Wishnask, as in so many other professions, many tend to "pass their turkeys on to the next guy."  But, in the education business, there is NO excuse for recommending a teacher just to get rid of the problem.  We, in education, are in the CHILDREN business and they MUST come first!

So, I congratulate you for your demands.  As far as opening her records, I don't know the provisions of the contract with teachers, so can't respond to that.  BUT, I can voice my opinion about recommending her to another district.  NO excuse for that!


I' m very happy a voice was used to address what seams to be a cover up about the whisnank/student issue from the board of education! thank you, you speak for those whose concerns will not be voiced!

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