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School board attorney: No ban on ‘Red for Ed’

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Apparently New Hanover County teachers can still wear “Red for Ed” shirts at school.

Today the New Hanover County School Board released a letter from its attorney Wayne Bullard to attorneys for the North Carolina Association of Educators. It was a response to a letter the school board received Wednesday from the NCAE.

In his letter Bullard wrote the district does not have a ban on “Red for Ed” shirts in schools. That’s a reversal from less than two weeks ago when teachers were informed they could wear red, but could not wear the message “Red for Ed,” which the school board said was a political statement not allowed under district policy.

Bullard wrote that “the (b)oard clarified its position at its work session (Tuesday) to state that we are not aware of any teachers or other employees of New Hanover County Schools being threatened with disciplinary action for exercising their Constitutional rights.”

Bullard also wrote that the board did not hold an illegal closed meeting Nov. 4. He said the session was closed because board members were discussing whether certain employees were violating the board’s policies about political activities at school and whether certain administrators were enforcing the policies. He said by law such discussions of such personnel matters must be discussed in private.

“Suffice it to say that the Board is concerned about orchestrated political activities by its teachers taking place on school grounds in front of students who are a captive audience,” Bullard wrote. “The (b)oard clearly has the right and responsibility to regulate such conduct and speech.”

On Nov. 4 teachers at several schools in the county and elsewhere in the state staged “walk-ins” to make a statement about teacher pay and education reforms in North Carolina.

Bullard also said the board “strongly supports public education.”

“However, unlike some groups, the (b)oard supports all stakeholders in public education,” he wrote.


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