TEASER Moore County Schools sign

UPDATE: The school board has scheduled a meeting for Wednesday, Sept. 22 to go through the agenda it did not take up Monday, Sept. 13.


Lately the Moore County Board of Education has developed a reputation for meetings that stretch well past 10 p.m., but business scheduled for Monday was left unaddressed in a meeting that never made it past the one-hour mark.

At least three board members arrived at the meeting Monday afternoon in the hope of postponing it — because of a change of venue after a reported threat against at least one school board member.

Board member Robert Levy asked to adjourn before the board went into its regularly scheduled closed session to discuss legal issues. Levy suggested that the meeting be rescheduled to Monday, Sept. 20 at West Pine Elementary, where the Sept. 13 meeting was to have originally taken place. Board members David Hensley and Philip Holmes supported that motion, but it failed on a 3-3 vote. Vice-Chair Pam Thompson arrived late and was not yet present to vote.

Less than an hour later, the full board did vote to adjourn based on a legal technicality surrounding the change of venue announced on Friday, and the district’s vacillation on whether or not to permit a planned anti-mask protest on district property.

“The parents and the citizens who wanted to assemble and had planned an assembly, on any side of the aisle, they are certainly welcome to do that and they have a right to do that, and we disturbed that right,” said Hensley.

“Actually we quashed that right up until a couple of hours ago when the word was changed, and then all of a sudden they don’t have time to reassemble and gather, so we really denied people that right.”

Moore County Schools announced on Tuesday afternoon that the meeting has been rescheduled for Sept. 22 at the district’s central office. The board is scheduled to meet in closed session at 3:30 p.m. with the business meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Monday’s meeting was originally scheduled at West Pine Elementary to allow for a larger turnout in anticipation of robust public feedback during the meeting. But the district announced on Friday evening that the meeting would instead be moved to Moore County Schools’ central office and placed under added security to “help ensure a safe and orderly board meeting while a particular concern is under review.” That extra security included metal detectors for screening.

In its Friday release, the district said that no public demonstrations would be permitted at or outside of the meeting. However it then backtracked on that prohibition early on Monday afternoon.

The district has yet to disclose the nature of the threat. Levy said that he had not been directly threatened, and heard a rumor about the meeting's change of venue on Friday afternoon before being notified by the district.

He added that he knew nothing more specific himself until school officials furnished a “summary” to board members on Monday indicating that the individual planned to protest the district’s mask mandates at board members’ homes.

“I didn’t know the content of the threat until after I was told the meeting was moved and after I was told that the constitutional rights of the people were going to be suspended," said Levy.

“Not only was I personally not feeling threatened, I didn’t think that the content of the threat was any different from some so-called threats that I get every day from angry people. That’s the nature of politics today. The nature of politics is that there are a lot of angry people, but we all must stay in the public eye and assure the public of their constitutional rights.”

So the board met on Monday afternoon as a group of about 100 people rallied outside in protest of student mask mandates. When they emerged after about 45 minutes in closed session, Vice-Chair Pam Thompson moved to adjourn the meeting. Her original motion included moving the meeting to Thursday at the district’s central office.

Hensley objected. He said that during closed session board members had decided Monday's meeting was not publicized appropriately per North Carolina’s open meetings law and that therefore they could not make a legally valid decision.

Monday’s agenda included a vote on plans to gather community feedback on a set of student surveys proposed for administering in the spring, as well as a schedule for future votes on mask mandates as the school year goes on. The state recently passed a law requiring local school boards to review COVID-19 trends and call new votes on masking on a monthly basis.

North Carolina required public schools to enforce mask mandates during the 2020-2021 school year. But this year the state has punted that debate to the local level by giving individual school districts the option not to require masks. As of early September, only three of the state's 115 school districts are mask-optional. Harnett County’s board of education chose Monday night to return to mask-optional on Oct. 5.

The school board was also slated to continue discussion of the ongoing effort to sell the old Aberdeen Elementary and Southern Pines Primary campuses.

But board members did not agree on a new date or location for their September business meeting in open discussion. Thompson amended her motion only to adjourn the meeting, which was approved by a unanimous vote.

That meeting was rescheduled Tuesday afternoon for Wednesday, Sept. 22 at 6:30 p.m. in the boardroom at the central office on U.S. 15-501 in Carthage. A closed session begins at 3:30 p.m.

(35) comments

Kent Misegades

Just out - from Wilmington, NC. All part of the effort to stamp out our God-given liberties. “Leaked Zoom Video Reveals Hospital Officials Discussing COVID-19 Scare Tactics”

Kent Misegades

I have yet to read about a protest over useless masks at a home school. No wonder enrollment in them has tripled in just two years. The best means to protest government school policy is take your children out of them, forever.

Matthew Hintz

Concur. Public (We The People) Schools have turned into government (Dictator run) schools. Take your kids out. Put them in private schools or homeschool. These "Public" Servants have no idea why the Constitution was written, nor what is written in it. They have no idea that they work for us, but think we serve them. Pull your kids. Get on the waiting lists now. Every private school in Moore County has a waiting list. Parents can't pull their children fast enough from these failing, communist schools.

Kent Misegades

Amen. Note that the average annual cost for private schools is similar to what most families spend annually on day cares. Home schools are even less. The best educators deserve better employers, too and are leaving government schools. There are many, many options including hybrid and online classes at affordable costs and yielding outstanding results. Don’t waste your time and energy trying to change a broken government school. Leave it and never look back. You will be amazed how it transforms your life for the better.

Lynn Hancock

Sadly, this was all predictable prior to the election, but it’s even worse than we imagined. This is a dreadful model of supposedly adult behavior for the students in our district. I heard this recently and think it applies…“If this isn’t rock bottom, it’ll do until rock bottom gets here.”

Margaret Smith

What has happened to our community? I've lived here 22 years and until Hensley and Levy were elected to the school board this community was kind, peaceful and caring. Emily Grace, Beth Anne Pratte, Hensley and Levy and all of their followers have made this county a very unpleasant place to live. Such vitriolic hate from these folks! Every day! How much negative energy they have, how angry they are. Every. Single. Day. I almost feel sorry for them, except they spread their hatred. It is a matter of time before we come to regret this. Anyone read "Witness," by Karen Hesse?

Kim Geddes

Yes Margaret; sadly, they have an agenda that is not in the best interest of our community.

Cindy Ewan

Our former President is what happened. Every single day for four years he told them to be angry and hate.

Mark Hayes

Excuse my interruption, but I believe that was Maxine Waters. [wink]

Mark Hayes

Biden recites and signs what " they " put in front of him, he is a sock puppet.

Conrad Meyer

Spot on Mark. Except for the sock puppet remark. He is only a sock puppet when he is lucid enough to stare at and read the teleprompter.

Mark Hayes

Conrad, Biden envisions himself as the modern day FDR, creating government spending programs, infrastructure spending, but it will not be spent on roads, bridges, waterways, flood prevention, and safe drinking water. The majority of spending will be unaccounted for, used as government welfare and programs unrelated. FDR's " New Deal " did not end the depression, it was WWII that should be credited for bringing this country back on to stable grounds.

Matthew Hintz

Um....have you listened to Biden's speeches? There is nothing more intolerant, than a Leftist Democrat. Communist and evil is what they are.

Stephen Woodward

Debate is not hate.

Matthew Hintz

Concur

Matthew Hintz

Look in the mirror Ms. Smith. Hensley and Levy are the definition of Public Servants. They are patriots, who have read and understand the Constitution.

David Hensley

Hi Margeret,

You may call me pointing out illegal and improper behavior on the School Board, but most people appreciate me ensuring the School Board follows Moore County School Policies and NC General Statutes.

For example, the most recent meeting was adjourned because the Chair violated MCS Policy by unilateral changing the location of the meeting and the meeting was not properly noticed per NC General Statute 143-318.12

The fact is the previous School Board was "Peaceful" because everyone rubber stamped everything which came out of the central office whether it was legal or ethical.

Glenn Moore

The school board better choose their words carefully...the riots in Portland, Oregon were deemed “peaceful demonstrations” by the mainstream media!

Sally Larson

There are so many angry people out there creating a possible threat, I don't blame them for canceling the meeting. What's wrong with people???? What happened to debate???? Being angry and threatening isn't the way to make a difference. You're only making it harder to be heard.

Sherri Mangum

You're right!

Diana Smith

[thumbup]

David Hensley

As reported in this article, there was NO THREAT to the meeting.

Here is my statement on this issue:

The early adjournment of the 13 September Moore County School Board meeting had nothing to do with any perceived threat, nor did it have anything to do with any item on the agenda.

The MC School Board voted 7-0 to adjourn because proper notice wasn't given for the meeting in accordance with NC General Statute 143-318.12

Any report or headline you see which states or alludes to the meeting being cancelled for any other reason is incorrect.

Joseph Clarke

I really wonder what the breakdown of the community is between:

Extreme pro mask

Moderate pro mask

Moderate anti mask

Extreme ant mask.

I'd guess that the extremes are a combined 10% at most, while the rest of us hold differing opinions respectfully. Don't let yourself get radicalized by either extreme and remember that most of our community is probably very level-headed and go on with life as normal with or without masks.

Lisa Wells

Totally agree with you Joseph. The extremes seem to have an outsized voice in these meetings.

Jack Farrell

What a sad example of an elected body the School Board has become since the last election. And the anti-everything crowd has not made it better.

Micky Konold

👏🏻👏🏻

Dwight Kidd

The last election may have tore up a go along to get along playhouse. The next election may finish the job and the School Board might then run like a well oiled machine.

Matthew Hintz

It sure will. 3 down, 4 more to go!

Dwight Kidd

The next election will finish what the last election started and then the School Board will probably run like a well oiled machine.

Barbara Misiaszek

God forbid!

John Misiaszek

Stephen Woodward

God forbid what? That Moore County school kids become more proficient in math and reading? That neglected school infrastructure is funded by the sale of former school properties? That kids are spared invasive and inappropriate surveys opposed by parents? That kids are taught that America was founded to become and is the greatest nation in the history of the world? God will forbid none of this. In fact, he will help citizens facilitate all of it.

Matthew Hintz

Wait until the next election when we turn the other four seats into the "anti-everything crowd"

Barbara Misiaszek

Maybe if the Moore County Board of Commissioners and our State legislature would properly fund our school district(s) there would be better results. In each of the last two years the commissioners have reduced the requested budget by more than $2,000,000. At the same time, the cost of County government increased significantly. Moore County, like virtually every other district in NC ,dramatically underfunds education compared to what almost all other states provide. NC ranks 39th in the entire U.S. in per pupil spending for public school education. Consequently, NC public school education falls short of results elsewhere. Leandro!

John Misiaszek

Matthew Hintz

Funding is not the issue.

Ronnie McNeill

Sure thing, just let it be once it is! No cries of "foul" when the true Blue and American Spirit folk vote all of the fools and the foolish ideas, and the tom foolery that goes with each out. I am sure that others like myself are curious about what actions were taken by previous school boards that were illegal and or unethical as referenced above.... Anybody?

I do recall a fiasco involving an attempt by a few unethical individuals on the school board to oust the sitting and well performing(even still) superintendent, under the cover of darkness. Thankfully, and as always, "right" prevailed, and we all saw what happened to them folk and their influence. So I have full faith in the voters in Moore County (the True BLUE and American spirited ones) to just as before, reinforce the validity of that old adage, "the more things change, the more they stay the same." The people in Moore County are to smart to be foolish, and thankfully Moore County is populated with more smart than foolish people. (PUN Intended!) I caution each of you with "ill" intentions for this county, state, and nation, to be mindful of the comments made by Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, following the ill advised and maniacal attack on Pearl Harbor.

Do not take our non-confrontational, even tempered, and equitable tendencies as a sign of weakness, it is merely good camouflage.

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