Author banned from New Hanover County Schools tells his story

Published: Jun. 14, 2016 at 2:43 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 14, 2016 at 10:36 AM EDT
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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - An author banned from New Hanover County Schools is telling his side of the story.

Clyde Edgerton said it started when he noticed "irregularities" in the races of students in Forest Hills Elementary School's Spanish immersion program and suspected discrimination.

Edgerton began calling parents on the wait list to get into the program.

An unidentified parent claimed he called them in April saying their child had been discriminated against, and that he may have gotten their information illegally.

Superintendent Dr. Tim Markley requested a meeting with Edgerton after the parent complaint.

Valita Quattlebaum, NHCS Chief Communications Officer, said Markley requested the meeting to find out how Edgerton obtained student records.

Edgerton and his attorney, Jim Lea, emailed Markley saying they would get back to him.

Several days later, Markley sent Edgerton a letter saying since he had not responded to the allegations, he was banned from school grounds.

While Edgerton told the parent he may have obtained their information illegally, he now says he was mistaken.

"I've never obtained any information illegally as I understand the law," Edgerton said. "At that time, not understanding the law and having been told by the lawyer at central office that it would be breaking the law to give me just the race of a student on the wait list, I said that to the parent."

Lea insists Edgerton did nothing illegal.

"Every single letter to invite to a meeting starts off with 'you did something wrong,'" Lea said. "It's literally like the principal calling a child into the principal's office and saying 'tell me what you did wrong.'"

Edgerton said he thinks of the ban as a distraction to issues he brought up.

He said he has never seen student records other than those of his own children.

Quattlebaum said the district is not planning any legal action at this time, and Markley is still willing to meet with Edgerton.

Edgerton said he has no interest in meeting with Markley.

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