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NHC school board member's concern over ticket fees leads to tensions

New Hanover County Schools Board of Education meeting on September 8, 2022.
New Hanover County Schools Board of Education meeting on September 8, 2022.

During Tuesday evening’s New Hanover County school board meeting, there was a heated debate over fees for tickets to sporting events.

Member Judy Justice took issue with the electronic payment system for sporting events, in which students use an app that Justice said charges a $1.56 convenience fee per ticket. Central staff said this system is safer and less costly than paying workers to handle large amounts of cash.

“We need to address this issue of kids not being able to use cash…some of these kids actually don't have access to electronics,” said Justice.

Members Nelson Beaulieu and Stefanie Adams questioned the immediate importance of this issue, leading to members talking over one another.

Chair Stephanie Kraybill called the meeting adjourned, but later said that had been inappropriate and the meeting continued.

Member Pete Wildeboer suggested the council refresh themselves on orderly conduct and the board decided to undergo parliamentary training led by their legal representation.

“Even tonight we saw a need for further clarity and the ability to work together as a group,” said Wildeboer.

Other issues

Also during the meeting, during the call to the audience, community members expressed concerns over what constitutes as sexual assault in Title IX policy. They said the definition should comprise fondling over the clothes as well as under, as it currently only includes the former.

The board voted to discuss this aspect of the definition of sexual assault in the Title IX policy at their next policy committee meeting.

Community members also pushed to end using seclusion and restraints in schools during the call to the audience. District staff said they will address the policy after schools submit their school improvement plans in mid-September.

Beaulieu said finding an alternative to seclusion rooms is the only holdup in voting to end the practice.

The board also noted they will hold a town hall on September 20.

Grace Vitaglione is a multimedia journalist, recently graduated from American University. I’m attracted to issues of inequity and my reporting has spanned racial disparities in healthcare, immigration detention and college culture. In the past, I’ve investigated ICE detainee deaths at the Investigative Reporting Workshop, worked on an award-winning investigative podcast and produced student-led video stories.