Melton asks for new investigation

Published 11:06 am 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.