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Board adopts complaint policy

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SMITHFIELD — By a wide margin this month, the Johnston County Board of Education adopted a policy that governs the role of board members in handling complaints.

The lone dissenting vote came from Ronald Johnson, who might have thought the policy singled him out. (He did not return a phone call seeking comment.)

Johnson has said publicly that he has personally received complaints of sexual harassment in the schools and shared evidence of that harassment with authorities.

Policy 1541 makes that a no-no.

Instead, “an individual board member who receives a complaint, concern or inquiry from a parent, interested citizen or employee concerning a school matter shall and will refer the person to the appropriate school administrator and, when appropriate, advise the person of the procedures in place for making such complaints,” the policy states.

Also, the board member shall and will refer the complaint to the superintendent, “who will determine an appropriate means of responding to the complaint,” the policy adds.

“Individual board members shall and will refrain from taking individual action with regard to such complaints other than referring them to the proper administrative employee,” the policy concludes.

But the policy includes no sanctions for violations, so it appears able only to encourage compliance, not discourage it.