Moore County Schools launches investigation into sex ed allegations

RALEIGH — The Moore County public school district has launched an investigation after allegations of explicit remarks made by a New Century Middle School teacher during a course on reproductive health and safety.

Radio show host J.D. Zumwalt highlighted the allegations during his Jan. 27 broadcast and prefaced his comments by telling his audience to change the channel because none of what he was about to say should be heard by children.

Zumwalt referenced two children who heard the alleged remarks. One was an 11-year-old female student in sixth grade and the other was allegedly a 13-year-old.

The 11-year-old came home and told her mom about what happened at school and was nervous and uncomfortable about it. Zumwalt said on this show that the girl was so distraught she had to spell out the word that was discussed instead of saying it.

The teacher’s remarks allegedly included descriptions of sex acts and body fluids.

A woman named Jan Nichols McClay, who self-identified herself as the mother of a child at New Century, said in a Facebook post, “I am mortified and flabbergasted and sad and mad and all sorts of things. I haven’t slept since I found out.

She had held it in and was so afraid to tell me as she really likes her teacher and she knows that retaliation is a possibility,” wrote McClay about her daughter finally telling her about what happened. “What a horribly sad situation for a child to be in — asking herself, do I do what is right and rat out my teacher that I like or just keep it all bottled up inside.”

McClay also wrote that she wants to go to the school for answers “as to why/how this happened” and to “work together to make sure this never happens again not as a mob with pitchforks but community with solutions.”

McClay declined further comment to North State Journal, pending the school district’s investigation.

North State Journal asked the district about the alleged incident. MCS Communications Director Catherine Nagy emailed back a statement on Friday, January 28.

“The school system is aware of the statements made on the radio. To the best of our knowledge, there have been no such complaints or concerns of any kind expressed to the school, and the school system currently has no reason to believe the allegations are true. Nevertheless, out of an abundance of caution, the school system is investigating these concerns per its personnel policies and practices.

The school system asks that members of the public refrain from judgment as to what are, at this point, nothing more than unverified and anonymous hearsay allegations. The school system takes all allegations of misconduct by employees very seriously, even hearsay, and will review these concerns fairly, carefully, and with respect for the employee’s due process rights. MCS has outstanding, professional educators which is why the district takes any allegations of misconduct seriously.

To correct misinformation being circulated related to these allegations, parents of any students enrolled in the puberty units of the Healthful Living and physical education courses must “opt-in” their child for the course. This is an important distinction in that students are not automatically enrolled in those courses. Parents opt-in their child by responding to a “Reproductive Health and Safety” letter sent home prior to the start of instruction. Parents are able to view the materials for the coursework at any time upon request by visiting their child’s school. Material for the course can also be found on the NC DPI standard course of study webpage.”

School districts are required by state statute §15C-81.30 to provide a reproductive health and safety education program commencing in the seventh grade. The same statute also requires that each local board of education to adopt a policy and provide a mechanism to allow a parent or a legal guardian to withdraw his or her child from instruction on sexually transmitted diseases, contraceptives, sexual assault and sex trafficking. State law also requires that school districts give parents and legal guardians of students an opportunity to review the objectives and materials for reproductive health and safety courses at least 60 days before they curriculum and materials are used.

North State Journal has submitted public records requests to the Moore County School district asking for e-mails and other documents to determine when the school administration became aware of these allegations and to ascertain the status the school system’s investigation.

 

 

By A.P. Dillon

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