Editor's Note: Since this story aired, Governor Pat McCrory's Deputy Communications Director Ryan Tronovitch has reached out to WHQR and apologized for what he characterized as an unfortunate mix-up.
On Friday, Wilmington’s Hoggard High School hosted Governor Pat McCrory, who, according to other media outlets, gave a speech about safety in public schools.
The invitation-only event was small and high-security; in fact, WHQR Reporter Katie O’Reilly was barred from entering. But before being escorted off-site by four uniformed members of law enforcement, O'Reilly was able to talk to others who were not on the guest list; namely, education activists who gathered outside the school to protest the governor's recent policies.
The dozen or so protesters--decked out in red for education and waving signs about what they say is a lack of state government support for public school teachers and students—were met with a chorus of honks from Shipyard Boulevard’s passing drivers. Former New Hanover County Schools employee Leila Garris says the group was mostly made up of retired school teachers that organized yesterday--after a social media tip that the governor was headed to the Cape Fear region.
" It’s a protest against McCrory’s policies and things that he’s trying to get done. And specifically for me, he’s here talking about school safety, but the number one issue in preventing things from happening at schools is mental health. Of students and staff and families. "
Demonstrators say they hope to shine public attention on recent legislative measures including what they say is decreased spending per pupil, insufficient teacher pay, eliminated positions within the school system and increased vouchers for private schools.