Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources at New Hanover County Schools resigns

SCHOOL SEX SCANDAL

Parents call for action from New Hanover County School Board

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - New Hanover County Schools has announced the assistant superintendent of human resources, Dr. John Welmers, has resigned.

His resignation is effective March 1, 2020 and he will take earned leave until that date.

According to the district, his last day at work was Tuesday, February 4. His duties will be reassigned to other staff until his replacement has been named.

The statement from New Hanover County Schools did not provide any more information on the terms or context of his resignation.

Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Dr. John Welmers
Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Dr. John Welmers (Source: New Hanover County Schools)

The announcement comes after a third employee of the school district was charged for sex crimes with students.

Peter Frank was charged last week with a dozen felony sex charges involving his students at Roland Grise Middle School. Lawsuits are still ongoing involving former teacher of the year Michael Kelly, who pleaded guilty to 59 charges tied to sex crimes against students. Nicholas Oates died before he went to trial on charges he had a sexual relationship with a student at Myrtle Grove Middle School.

[ Teacher charged with sex crimes had history of inappropriate relationships with students, warrants say ]

In the statement from New Hanover County schools, leaders also said they would be grateful to accept support offered up by county commissioners.

“We are grateful for their offer of school-based support and look forward to partnering together to take proactive steps forward. We acknowledge and understand the community’s concerns. The safety of our students continues to be our highest priority. We look forward to working with our Commissioners and the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office to restore trust in our system,” the statement New Hanover County Schools sent Tuesday night said.

Commissioners announced Monday night they were offering teams of experts to help the district with personnel investigations at all public schools and also mental health professionals to work with students, teachers and families.

“The county has three teams ready that include investigators from the Sheriff’s Office who are focused on crimes against children and forensic social workers that specialize in child abuse and neglect. These teams are specially trained to examine these types of situations and, once approved and requested by the school board, they will begin their work. The county has also committed to provide resource support of school-based mental health counselors to support immediate needs and long-term assistance for students, teachers, and families,” a statement from New Hanover County commission Chair Julia Boseman said.

The school board simply had to approve the proposal Tuesday and allow the teams access.

County leaders were outraged at what they call a systematic failure in the school system and vowed to spend whatever amount of money it takes to keep kids in the district safe.

“Look under every rock," said Boseman. "It’s time. It’s past time and I’m disgusted that it’s happening. And it’s happened again and if there’s anything the commissioners can do about it, we are 100% unified in whatever amount of money it takes to keep our kids safe.”

The New Hanover County Board of Education will hold a Special Meeting on Friday at 7:30 a.m., at the Board of Education Center located at 1805 S. 13th Street. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss personnel matters in closed session.

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