Protect the Students of New Hanover County Public Schools

New Hanover County Board of Education

Help us support public education in New Hanover County! Some members of the New Hanover Board of Education have expressed feelings of mistrust of our teachers. These members have discussed new policies that have the potential for harm to the entire student body, but particularly target minority and LGBTQ+ students. Let's make our voices heard and take action NOW, to make New Hanover County Schools an excellent, safe and welcoming learning community for teachers, staff and students. Please add your name to this petition, and share it with your friends, family and neighbors.

Sponsored by
Wilmington, NC

To: New Hanover County Board of Education
From: [Your Name]

We, the undersigned, are writing to express our concerns regarding reports of proposed policy changes by this school board that would target minority, low income, and LGBTQ+ students.

We believe every student in New Hanover County, regardless of their race, family income level, sexual orientation or gender identity, deserves a quality education without discrimination, and to be treated with dignity and respect by the members of the New Hanover County Board of Education.

Passing discriminatory policies could do irreparable harm to our students’ sense of self worth, academic performance, and future prospects.

Specifically, we find the following proposed policies to be unacceptable due to their discriminatory nature:

* Defunding/Eliminating Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) staff and programs from the school district

* Attempts to modify teaching the history of racism in the U.S. (possibly limiting teaching about the 1898 Wilmington Massacre)

* Using seclusion rooms for behavior control

* Banning Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

* Targeting and / or banning books that center LGBTQ+ voices

* Banning middle schoolers from joining in sports based on gender identity

* Requiring teachers to “out” LGBTQ+ students to their families against their will

* Eliminating clubs and student groups that center LGBTQ+ kids

Setting aside the ethical and moral considerations of the proposed discriminatory policies, a robust body of research demonstrates that school-based SEL programs raise student test scores, and doing away with these crucial initiatives will reduce student achievement.

Schools with a strong focus on DEI also have higher graduation rates and test scores, as well as lower suspension rates, compared to schools with weaker DEI efforts. If the new members of the board truly care about student achievement and success, they would never consider diminishing these policies as established by prior boards.

Policy changes emanating from this school board that are perceived as homophobic by our LGBTQ+ youth could significantly and directly contribute to mental health problems and reduced performance in school. Board members should be aware that LGBTQ+ youth are between 2 and 5 times as likely as straight teens to attempt suicide. Seeing adults promote intolerant and negative attitudes towards them may result in immense harm to our LGBTQ+ students, including feelings of isolation, marginalization, and fear. No elected leader in New Hanover County should be allowed to bully our LGBTQ+ youth in this way.

Finally, the board must take into account that passing discriminatory policies could also harm the reputation of New Hanover County and negatively impact the local economy. Discrimination goes against most people’s values, and adopting such policies can make the community less attractive to businesses that are looking to relocate to or invest in New Hanover County.

New board members campaigned on a promise to turn away from the petty personal agendas and dysfunction of the past. Our children are the future of this community, and they deserve to have leaders who are committed to data and facts, and not to "Defund The Public Schools" propaganda.

By showing true leadership and a commitment to fairness for all, this board can help our students achieve their full potential and build a brighter future for us all.

Respectfully submitted,