NHC school board meeting put on hold, community members frustrated

New Hanover County Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, July 13, 2021.
New Hanover County Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, July 13, 2021.(WECT)
Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 7:04 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 15, 2021 at 6:19 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The New Hanover County school board meeting got out of hand Tuesday night, causing board members to put the meeting on hold until next week.

“The issues here should not be centered around politics; they should be centered around the children,” said New Hanover County resident Dorian Cromartie.

Cromartie doesn’t have kids in school, but he, and others, wanted to be a voice for the kids in the New Hanover County school system.

Dozens of people signed up to speak on a variety of issues, but Cromartie didn’t get a chance to talk during the Call to Audience.

On Wednesday he learned that next week’s meeting will be held virtually, leaving him frustrated.

“I can somewhat understand that, but I cannot understand it completely. Reason being, we are here in the first place because the community is not being heard, at all,” said Cromartie.

Some board members were not happy with how the meeting ended.

“People were very passionate and there was a lot of emotion. I wish we could have listened more — it was very difficult because of the audience’s response. Maybe in the future we can set some parameters so that does not occur again,” said Judy Justice, New Hanover County Board of Education member.

School board member Nelson Beaulieu, who was acting chair on Tuesday night, said that the meeting was tabled out of an abundance of caution.

The school board will go through parliamentary procedure training in August, with hopes that another chaotic meeting doesn’t happen again.

“And that will help us; that will probably really go a long way to us understanding how to conduct these meetings in a more organized and proper manner,” said Justice.

Community members said that they simply want accountability and fairness at the end of the day.

I’m very excited that so many different groups are putting that much attention on our education system, because that shows how important our public schools are to them,” said Justice.

Beaulieu said that board members are still working out the specific details of next week’s meeting.

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