New Hanover Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Charles Foust Must Go!

by Melissa Mason

July 11, 2022

‘Freedom’ means local control. We should exercise our right to remove failing administrators.

In April, I publicly signed the Education Over Indoctrination Pledge. In it I called for Superintendent Dr. Foust to be fired for cause. Some voters are asking “why?”

Foust is Responsible for the Distribution of Obscene Materials to Our Kids

Foust has presided over the dissemination of obscene materials to the children of New Hanover County. Under the General Statutes of North Carolina this is a Class 1 felony, and grounds for Foust’s immediate removal from office – and more. According to GS 115C-274(a):

“Local boards of education are authorized to remove a superintendent who is guilty of immoral or disreputable conduct or who shall fail or refuse to perform the duties required of him by law.”

This is only one of many charges I will bring against Foust. Here are the main ones.

The Case Against Foust

Understand that under GS 115C-276(g), Foust is responsible for the implementation of all school policies:

1.) Obscene Materials

Foust has presided over the dissemination of obscene materials to the children of New Hanover County. This constitutes a Class 1 felony under GS 14-190.7, and 14-190.8.

2.) Discrimination and Segregation

Foust has presided over discriminatory policies, including segregated classes on the basis of race and gender, and race-based hiring practices. These policies violate state and federal anti-discrimination and equal opportunity laws, as well as the most fundamental American principles.

3.) Seclusion Room Abuse

Foust has presided over the worst implementation of seclusion rooms in the state. The practice is abusive, and everywhere it is used, there is a high standard for limiting its use. Under Foust, this standard has been ignored. Worse, Foust has created a conflict of interest that completely undermines the investigatory process. The person who trains staff in the use of seclusion rooms is the same person responsible for initiating investigations into their misuse. The burden of abuse has fallen on the most vulnerable and underserved students: minorities, and children with disabilities.

The video above clip (from Jan. 4, 2022 New Hanover County School Board meeting) shows that very same people held responsible for training staff on seclusion room use are also the ones that investigate when they are misused.

4.) Failure to Educate

Foust has failed in his most basic duty: to educate our children. Under GS 115-274(c), if half the schools in a county are failing, the school board has grounds to remove the superintendent. But just a few examples show that NHCS is failing as a whole.

DPI’s own statistics show that currently, 54% of all NHCS students grades 3-8 are not proficient in Math, and 49% of the same age group are not proficient in Reading. Of NHCS students reaching Math 1, the first level of high school math, 74% are not proficient.

5.) Violation of Parents’ Rights

There is a clear pattern, under Foust’s administration, of hiding information from parents, and excluding them from the process: from lying about policies like the Gender Support Plan, to hiding failures behind claims of compliance, to obscuring and lying about the content of the curriculum, to delivering inconsistent and potentially false reports about the use of disciplinary tools, to obstructing parents’ access to the contents of school libraries, and more.

Under Foust, New Hanover County Schools have behaved as though our children belong to them, and we, the parents, must ask schools’ permission to participate in decisions about our own kids. Worst of all, NHCS thinks they have the right to exclude us from those decisions.

County employees have no such power in any jurisdiction, in any matter. County employees answer to elected officials, who answer directly to the voters. Foust works for us. It is time to reestablish the chain of command as laid out in the Constitution.

We Must Have the Courage to Do What’s Right

This should be enough for anyone. And yet when I say we must fire Foust, I still hear people say,

“It’s going to be very difficult to do.”

“Even if you have the votes, the board won’t act without the advice of its attorney.”

“You’re going to make a lot of people angry.”

So what?! We have a duty to keep our children safe.

Democrats Don’t Support Foust Either

During the April 26 School Board candidate town hall, the moderator asked who approved of the job Superintendent Foust had done. Out of 10 candidates, five Republicans and five Democrats, NO ONE raised their hand.

So the entire community disapproves of Foust, but we can’t remove him? That’s absurd. We have the right to keep our kids safe, and we have the right to remove failing administrators. We must have the courage to exercise our rights.

Common but Weak Objections

“If we fire Foust now, the current board will hire someone who’s the same or worse.”

Correct. Firing Foust only makes sense in the context of a Republican-controlled School Board. That is another reason we need to elect four Republicans to the Board.

“If we fire Foust without cause, the county will be on the hook to pay him the rest of his contract.”

Correct. That is why we must fire him for cause. Then the rest of his pay is forfeited. We have cause and will demonstrate it.

That said, ask yourself: how much would you be willing to pay if we could stop the policies that are damaging our children today?

Help Make Our Strongest Case

We are compiling a more comprehensive list of the charges against Foust. This is an evolving document. Please share your suggestions, additions, corrections, and criticisms. I invite parents, teachers, and all voters to contact me. I understand the need for anonymity and will always protect whistleblowers. Send your comments through this adjacent form.

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We Have a Fundamental Right to Choose How Our Children Are Educated

We have the right to hire and fire the people who are entrusted caretakers eight hours a day. Anyone who tells you there is something that trumps that fundamental right is not interested in protecting you, your child, or this community.

Local school boards were given the power of self-rule by the state to protect your fundamental rights. We have given that power away. But when I am elected, I promise to exercise it. And together, we will take our schools back.

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