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Understanding New Hanover County Schools' Parent/Public Complaint Process

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New Hanover County Schools
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The New Hanover County Board of Education recently reviewed and declined to investigate claims made by the local group, The Southern Coalition for Equal Protections Under the Law.  Back in December, they submitted a report to the Board detailing six cases – involving racial discrimination and sexual misconduct. WHQR explores how school officials say they process public concerns.

Parents can contact individual board members with a grievance – but school officials say they try to resolve conflicts as locally as possible first.  That means going to the teacher or the principal. 

Lisa Estep, Chairperson of the New Hanover County School Board, says this year, they formed a Title IX Committee in response to sex discrimination:

"We are a quasi-judicial board, so we have to stay neutral. And, we are actually, the fourth-level of the review process, so there are many levels. You can also go outside the school system. So, we are not the end of the road."

But before a parent contacts law enforcement or files suit, except of course in extreme cases, there are steps. 

Under the parent tab on the New Hanover County Schools website, there’s a form labeled: Parent/Public Concerns that was last revised in 2012.

The form requires the person with the complaint to document efforts to resolve the problem first with school staff.  Once that form is filed, it goes to the Superintendent for investigation.