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School board votes to rename football stadium at Laney High School

Updated: Apr. 13, 2021 at 8:17 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The New Hanover County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday night to rename the football stadium at Laney High School.

The stadium was named after Dr. Rick Holliday, a former principal at Laney who retired as the school system’s deputy superintendent in 2019. The school board decided to begin a 60-day renaming process immediately.

More than 4,000 people have signed a petition to have Holliday’s name removed from the stadium since the arrest of former high school teacher Mike Kelly in 2018 on dozens of charges of sex crimes against students.

Parents and students told WECT they reported concerns to then-principal Holliday decades ago about Kelly and another teacher’s inappropriate relationships with students.

Holliday has staunchly denied having any knowledge of sex crimes against students prior to the teachers’ arrests. But after Kelly pleaded guilty to dozens of crimes in 2019 and, according to prosecutors, told investigators school administrators knew about allegations against him, Holliday abruptly announced his retirement.

Holliday also is named in a civil lawsuit against the school district alleging top administrators repeatedly failed to act on information about potential wrongdoing by Kelly.

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