Pender County Schools hire law firm to investigate alleged ‘inappropriate racial comments’ by staff member

Pender Schools investigation

PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - The Pender County Board of Education announced Friday that Blue Law Firm has been hired to conduct an independent investigation of allegations involving inappropriate racial comments by a member of staff at Pender High School.

According to a news release, the firm has been engaged to investigate the allegations under circumstances that will allow complete access to school system records. The direction from the Board is for Blue LLC, “to conduct, as quickly as possible, a thorough, efficient, and complete investigation without compromising the integrity of the investigation for any reason.”

Blue Law Firm will conduct the investigation to determine whether any violation of professional standards occurred and will recommend action to be considered if applicable.

"...we need to get to the bottom of this quickly and in a way that will instill public confidence,” said Chairman Don Hall.

According to a statement posted on the district’s Facebook page, June 9, administration officials say they were made aware of an employee taking to social media, claiming a peer staff member had made the alleged comments.

In an effort to maintain transparency, Pender County Schools is issuing the following statement in regards to information currently circulating on social media:

Posted by Pender County Schools on Monday, June 8, 2020

“An immediate inquiry into the two posted documents is taking place and all related historical records are being gathered,” according to the statement.

The statement continued that “due to the sensitive nature of this topic with regard to ongoing protests occurring around the world, the Board of Education is authorizing the superintendent to engage an independent third-party investigator" and will “ensure the most transparent and objective investigation possible and encourage further public trust of Pender County Schools.”

District officials said the contract with the third-party investigator requests a speedy release of findings with ongoing updates if the investigation carries on over a lengthy period.

“Pender County Schools takes any accusation of inappropriate staff behavior with utmost seriousness and will work to investigate them fully,” the statement read.

We’ve reached out to Pender County Schools for more information regarding the alleged incident.

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