Archived Story

Melton asks for new investigation

Published 11:06am Friday, September 28, 2012

WINTON – A procedural issue kept Wayne Melton from speaking to the Hertford County Board of Education here Monday.

The father of a 2012 graduate of Hertford County Public Schools, however, submitted a request to the board members and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Perry requesting a new investigation.

Melton requested that Perry conduct an investigation into whether or not Community Relations Director Ronald Gatling improperly proposition Melton’s daughter, as alleged by he and  his family. Gatling was originally suspended by then interim Superintendent Julius Walker when an allegation was made that Gatling offered the young woman a job in a summer program he oversees in exchange for sex.

Gatling was reinstated when Walker determined Melton’s daughter was not a student in Hertford County Public Schools because she had completed coursework for graduation in December of last year.

“The allegation of misconduct against Mr. Gatling supposedly took place in late March or early April of this year,” Walker said earlier this year. “That allegation was made by a female high school student who was not on the campus of the high school in March or April. That student finished their course work early and graduated in December. Technically that person is no longer a student of Hertford County Public Schools.”

Monday, Melton made a request the board open a new investigation after he presented a graduation program dated May 19, 2012 (C.S. Brown High School in Winton) that has his daughter’s name listed as one of the graduates.

“I am here to request that the allegations of misconduct of a Hertford County employee and my daughter be reinvestigated,” Melton said in a prepared statement that was given to board members and the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. “At the time (of the original investigation) there was an acting superintendent.”

Melton then referred to Walker’s statement on the issue about his daughter not being a student and to her name being listed on the graduation program.

“My daughter participated in other senior activities even after (she) completed required coursework in December and therefore she was considered a Hertford County Public School student. Also, should it matter whether or not the proposition was on or off campus,” Melton said.

Melton then formally requested the allegations against Gatling be investigated by Perry and the school board.

“Please remember that  you all are responsible for educating and protecting the best interest of our students and the public is very interested in the outcome of this situation,” Melton closed.

Melton also reiterated during an interview with the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald that he was still waiting for answers to eight questions he had for the board. He said the questions were submitted during a meeting with the board earlier this year.

Those inquiries included the extent of the investigation into Gatling’s alleged actions; the decision behind Gatling’s eventual reinstatement; if HCPS officials had informed (by means of a letter) the North Carolina Board of Education of the matter; and inquired of how Gatling was able to continue as an HCPS employee while the State Bureau of Investigation conducted their probe of the allegations against Gatling.

When reached by telephone Friday morning, Gatling had no comment on the request for a new investigation.

  • Hitcher123

    When will we stop the nonscence. Elected offocials using the system for thier own personal gain. Here is a good example of school board members protecting thier friends (even when they violate the law). Now is the time to start changing. Vote – Vote- and make sure we elect people who want to do the right thing. Stop compainging and tell people to vote. It may be you or your child who is violated the next time.

    Suggest Removal

  • Marysgirl

    Can’t believe that the board of education would allow a person to sexually harrass students in the school system. Mr. Gatling is still working with and around students that he is accused of sexually harrasing. Our understanding is the board refuses to believe that Mr. Gatling tried to sell school system jobs for sex. Well Board, Dr. walker, the superintendent that youo sellected stated to the NewsHearld that the incident did not take place on school property and that the sudents was not an legal student because she had not graduated. Seems to us that he admitted that it did take place, but not on school property. Does it really matter where it took place or if it was present student or former student. Yet, this board or individuals decided not to remove Mr. Gatling because of his personal relationship to certain board members. Interestingly, these board members are running to be re appointed again. We know of Mr. Wendel Hall’s relationship with Mr. Gatling. What about the others?

    Suggest Removal

  • ahoskie123

    Mr. Melton, never give up. Continue the fight and keep the public abreast on your developments. After reading the news articles and numerous opinions, it appears you may have a legal option against Mr. Gatling and the school board. You should consider suing both, as well as board members individually, for their knowledge and approval of this case of sexual harassment against your daughter. If they’re using the excuse that she was a “graduate” of Hertford County HS at the time then there is a cause for a sexual harassment suit. The Board was made aware and decided no crime occurred because “she had graduated”. See if this will get their attention and at least monetary compensation.

    Suggest Removal

  • margehouse

    I find this incident to be of top priority. It really should not matter how long it is being reported in the news when we are talking about the safety and well-being of our children. Mr. Melton, I hope that you never give up until someone listen to you and follow the proper protocol in seeking action. I do know that if it was my child that was alledgely being perpetrated, I would not be concerned about the time nor others that think the story is old. I believe that the concern of all parents and citizens alike, should be to get to the bottom of this alledged incident and if this is proven to be unfounded, then we can all feel a sense of relief and Mr. Gatling can go on (in good faith) completing the duties that lies before him with a clean conscious. We should never fail our children/students by not followindg through on issues as sensitive as this one. We owe it to our children to advocate on their behalf especially when we teach them to respect adults and those that are in charge. I really appreciate the student for making the choice to share the information with the parent as opposed to keeping silent or taking matters into his or her own hands. Also it is important to mention that even though we have completed all of the course work in school, we are still considered a student and will be until after we graduate. We also must realize that this story is considered alledged until proven other wise. In other words neither side should not give up until there is a resolution. “Just a concern Individual”.

    Suggest Removal

  • concerned

    The last two comments made my point exactly. There is absolutely nothing new here. The SBI investigated, obviously no crime was committed; Gatling is still working; the Board is not taking any further action; and the father wants answers. There is nothing here that is NEW. Thus it is not newsworthy.
    The TV stations in Raleigh, Charlotte, and Virginia are NOT still reporting on it. Why? It’s not newsworthy.
    Let’s assume the father continues his pursuit of answers at every board meeting for the next five years, is it reasonable that once a month for the next five years this should make headline news?

    Suggest Removal

  • Billyboy1

    Can’t believe that anyone would not want to keep up with a potential sexual predator or someone who wants to sell jobs for sex to students. Thanks to Mr. Melton for fighting to protect his daughter. Perhaps it will help other young girls. Mr. Melton….whether the board take action or not, continue to fight for justice and don’t give up because none of us are safe if our daughters are not safe.

    Suggest Removal

  • Hitcher123

    Congratulations to the News Hearld for keeping us informed of this critical information. Any news that protects our children should be important to us all. My original thoughts were that the News Hearld was moving slowly to notify the public of this information. It has been on the TV in Raleigh, Charlotte and Va. According to the earlier report, the sheriff turned the matter over to the SBI. We have not heard the results from them yet. I think it is vitally important that parents know that Mr. Gatling is still working with children in the school system. How critical is this to our children? What happened to the Board of Education and the superintendent who failed to consider the safety and protection of students and children?

    Suggest Removal

  • concerned

    Come on News Herald give us a break. You have milked this story long enough. I saw in the paper box that you have this story as the front page headline above the fold. Truly there is more important news in the area than this non story. Ok the father wants answers. He’s been wanting answers for four months. How is this newsworthy?

    Suggest Removal

  • headband

    I feel sorry for Mr. Melton and his teenage daughter. However, this story is starting to get old. RCH should refrain from printing anymore about this, unless new developments arrives!

    Suggest Removal

Editor's Picks