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Archive for June, 2009

School board releases info on Williston teacher

Friday, June 5th, 2009

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Friday’s New Hanover County School Board meeting started out behind closed doors. The purpose: to draft a statement on why former Williston Middle School teacher Jessica Wishnask had been suspended twice during the fall semester of last year. Draft after draft, the board debated for three long hours.

Finally, a two paragraph statement links Wishnask’s two suspensions to one student. The first suspension came after Wishnask was found behind a locked door with the boy, now fifteen. The second time, she was seen at a sporting event with that same boy after she had been warned to stay away.

The first investigation found no evidence the two had sexual or physical contact. According to the report, the second investigation proved the young boy had approached the teacher.

“The suspensions are not a punishment policy, what we do is we suspend individuals with pay, when issues arise,” said school board chair Edward Higgins.

According to the school board, Wishnask was given a recommendation to teach in another county based on her performance as a teacher, but the question remains as to whether that recommendation was appropriate. WWAY spoke with officials at Pitt County Schools where she taught after Williston. They said they only recently learned of her suspensions, two weeks ago, after her initial arrest. Still, the school board defends their investigation process. “The investigation itself, I think, was pretty detailed. Numerous people were spoken to, and as a result of the investigation, I don’t know that a further investigation would have come out with anything different,” Higgins said.

We have learned from sources that students and faculty observed Wishnask behind closed doors with other students as well, but the school board did confirm that her personnel filed contained multiple complaints from other teachers about inappropriate behavior while at school.

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videoThe New Hanover County School Board Friday afternoon released some vital information in the case surrounding former Williston Middle School teacher, Jessica Wishnask. WWAY has learned why she had been suspended twice while teaching at Williston last year.

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Associated poll

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Confirmed H1N1 virus, pre-school child

Friday, June 5th, 2009

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The New Hanover County Health Department has confirmed another case of the H1N1 virus; this time in a pre-school aged child.

The health department will not release the name of the pre-school, nor the specific age of the child, but will say the child is under age five.

Pediatricians say kids 5 and under are at high risk. What’s more, the FDA has not approved Tamiflu, the medicine to treat H1N1, for children 12 months or under.

Still, the advice remains the same. Practice good hygiene, and keep your kids home if they are sick. “It’s always concerning when a disease strikes a younger population. They can be more susceptible to ill effects from the disease, and of course they’re not as good at hygiene as other people,” said Dr. David Hill of Cape Fear Pediatrics. “But remember, as best we can tell, and we are still learning about this virus, it seems to be no more or less dangerous than over seasonal influenzas.”

Dr. Hill said the CDC has recommended doctors treat all cases with flu symptoms as though they are H1N1.

This case makes the sixth confirmed case in New Hanover County. The others are in elementary school aged children.

There are also two suspected cases at Holly Tree and Roland Grise schools.

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The New Hanover County Health Department has confirmed another case of the H1N1 virus; this time in a pre-school aged child.

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Associated poll

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Perdue answers questions around education

Friday, June 5th, 2009

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New Hanover County’s Wrightsboro Elementary School celebrated its one-hundredth anniversary Friday, welcoming parents, alums and Governor Bev Perdue, as schools across the state try to cope with funding cuts present and future.

“We are certainly making very careful decisions about how we spend money. We always have, but even more now,” said Wrightsboro Elementary Principal Boni Hall.

So how did we get here?

Perdue said there is no easy solution to North Carolina’s multi-billion-dollar budget crisis, and effects will be felt across the board, including education. But many of you have called and written us asking what about that billion dollars of lottery money we keep hearing about?

Perdue said state law dictates how about half of it is spent. But that still leaves a state education budget of about $12 billion to pay for. “A half of a billion out of $12 billion is not any way at all capable of filling the hole,” said Perdue.

That means school districts will likely face even bigger cuts next school year than they’ve already made this year, including a loss of thousands of jobs and funding for various programs. Perdue said she is doing all she can to protect programs for the state’s youngest students to help build their future. But she is a governor who ran for office touting her personal and political record on education and an endorsement from teachers.

“Let me tell you what. I will die being the education leader or the education governor. I believe that I am doing as good a job as anybody in America can do, and I would dare anybody to come and challenge me on it,” said Governor Perdue.

School districts and other state agencies still do not know what cuts they will face next year.

The State House continues to work on its version of the budget, which varies significantly from Perdue’s proposed budget and the Senate’s version. The House version calls for 12 percent cuts for education.

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videoState spending cuts are taking a toll on all sectors. But cuts to education have a lot of people asking why. WWAY political reporter Kevin Wuzzardo posed the question to Governor Perdue.

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Associated poll

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Brunswick County thrift store is helping local schools

Friday, June 5th, 2009

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Who would think buying thrift would be helping Brunswick County schools?

The Communities in Schools Thrift Store is open for business. CIS is a national organization that aids public schools in dropout prevention. Proceeds from sales will go toward funding after school and tutoring programs, as well as scholarships for graduates in Brunswick County.

“Communities in Schools partners with public schools. When we sell things that we get donated every dime goes back to the children and that just makes it all worthwhile,” said CIS store manager Sherry Ollis.

The store is in need of donations and shoppers, if you would like to help call 910-457-3494.

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Who would think buying thrift would be helping Brunswick County schools? The Communities in Schools Thrift Store is open for business. CIS is a national organization that aids public schools in dropout prevention.

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Associated poll

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Update: More swine flu cases hit children in Wilmington

Friday, June 5th, 2009

More New Hanover County children have come down with H1N1 virus, which is being found across the county.An additional case was verified Friday, local health officials announced, while samples from two more students are pending.

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