Reinstate Teacher/Coach William (Hill) Pearsall

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Reinstate Teacher/Coach William (Hill) Pearsall

This petition made change with 4,109 supporters!

Haley Woods started this petition to Board Member Ken Smith and

This petition is to encourage the Pender County School Board of Education to reinstate Teacher/Coach William (Hill) Pearsall. Mr. Pearsall has been a teacher and varsity volleyball coach at Topsail High School for the last 26 years of his career. He recently announced his retirement as the varsity Volleyball Coach, making this his last season with the team. 

Last week, Mr. Pearsall carried out a principal-approved lesson plan in his American History class, which included a student survey [which can be found here]. This survey was created by the Pew Research Center, a well-respected non-partisan organization. This was graded upon completion, not content, and was intended to help his students identify their baseline on the political spectrum. As you can see through the link above, the survey asks participants to select the answer choice which most closely matches their own beliefs; these answer choices range from politically liberal to politically conservative, and are phrased without bias or prejudice. This survey was carefully selected by Mr. Pearsall due to its unbiased, non-partisan nature, which serves only to reflect the participant’s approximate political ideology.

Prior to the assignment, Mr. Pearsall explained the optional nature of the activity, and emphasized that students would not be punished, formally or informally, if they chose not to participate. Mr. Pearsall also informed the students that their responses would be confidential, that he would not see their responses, and that the survey would not be collected for his review. Afterward, the students talked among themselves, but any student discussion was unsolicited and informal. Students who participated in the activity were only asked to submit a response to the following prompt: Is your placement on the political spectrum where you thought it would be?

Upon parent complaint, Mr. Pearsall issued a public apology to the parents and students involved in the assignment for any confusion. After explaining the intended nature of the assignment, he was predominantly met with supportive and favorable responses. However, according to the Board of Education, Mr. Pearsall violated N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(e)(1)a. through o., which essentially gives the Board the power to discriminate between "unreasonable" versus "reasonable requirements" for teachers (see N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-325(e)(1)j). You can check out the full statute here.

As a result, Mr. Pearsall was suspended, effective immediately. After 26 years of dedicated service, this is not the way to repay such a hard-working and altruistic member of our community. Additionally, the actions of the Board of Education has severely impacted both his students, who are preparing for their AP exams, as well as his players, who are left without his guidance in their final week of conference play. 

Mr. Pearsall has been a staple in the Topsail community for 26 years. This punishment is unnecessary and unjust, especially in light of the favorable responses he received from parents and students alike. As he always has, Mr. Pearsall selected this activity solely for the benefit of his students, as a means to help them understand their own political leanings.

We do not feel that Mr. Pearsall should be punished for prioritizing the well-being of his students. We believe that the Pender County Board of Education overstepped in this situation, and should reinstate Mr. Pearsall immediately. Please sign this petition to help Mr. Pearsall get back in the classroom, and on the court, as soon as possible!

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This petition made change with 4,109 supporters!