On Wednesday evening, December 7, just as the people of Moore County were beginning to recover from a five day power outage caused by an armed attack on two electrical substations, Moore County Board of Education Vice-chair David Hensley made a major announcement on his official Board of Education page. Mr. Hensley took that exact moment - when the people of the county he represents were struggling to overcome the hardships and fear that had consumed them for five days - to announce the Moore County Board of Education is renaming McDeeds Creek Elementary School in recognition of Medal of Honor recipient MSgt John Chapman.
Before McDeeds Creek opened its doors in 2018, Moore County Schools invited the public (with an emphasis on those families who lived in the school's attendance area) to suggest potential names and mascots. There was a spirited public debate, a committee was formed, the suggested names were researched, and finally a recommendation was made. The Moore County Board of Education voted to name the school McDeeds Creek and to designate the bull as its mascot. The name McDeeds Creek and the highland bull mascot is a tribute to the brave settlers of the part of Moore County where the school is located.
For four years, the families of McDeeds Creek have proudly represented their name and the school has become a shining example of success in Moore County. But now, based on an apparent whim of one member of the MoCo BoEd, the school they love will be renamed. Mr. Hensley has made it clear that he isn't interested in what they want or how they feel. He has made a decision and that decision will stand.
Parents of McDeeds children, and the entire community, are shocked and angry. Social media is on fire with protests and demands to know WHY Mr. Hensley is doing this NOW. Below is the text on an online petition (link at the end of this commentary) that McDeeds parents are circulating to appeal to the MoCo BoEd to reject this new name.
“The Moore County Board of Education is currently considering renaming McDeeds Creek Elementary School to honor a Medal of Honor recipient. While we are very grateful for all of our service men and women's sacrifices, I would like to make it very clear this petition has nothing to do with MSgt John Chapman, his family and the hero's he served with. As many of the McDeeds Creek staff, students and parents know first-hand his sacrifices he and his family have made.“
The petition has been up less than a day and already has well over 300 signatures
Predictably, there is much speculation in Moore County about WHY Hensley chose McDeeds Creek for the rebranding. He claims it’s because he didn’t want to tarnish MSgt John Chapman’s name by associating him with one of our “failing schools” (his words, not mine). However, members of the community suspect his reasons have more to do with his ongoing personal grudge against McDeeds Creek principal Molly Capps than with anything else. From my perspective, it doesn’t matter why he chose McDeeds. This would be inappropriate no matter WHAT school he was rebranding.
This is going to cost our community big bucks. Hensley claims no “public funds” will be spent, but that is a lie. He may raise money from “private sources” to cover the majority of the cost, but Moore County Schools staff - which are paid by TAX DOLLARS - will need to spend hours of their work time on this project. It’s also fair to ask why - if Mr. Hensley is able to raise such vast amounts of money from the private sector, he would spend it on something that benefits no one other than a Medal of Honor recipient with NO TIES to the McDeeds Creek community. Why not raise money for desperately needed facilities and improvements at some of our older and most vulnerable schools? Mr. Hensley also seems to have no regard whatsoever for the parents of McDeeds Creek who will be hit with the financial burden of the costs they will incur replacing all of their kids’ school gear and memorabilia.
The most troubling part of all of this to me is that ONE member of the Moore County Board of Education appears to be making unilateral decisions about our public schools without input from the community and announcing major changes on his social media page BEFORE any vote by the other members of the BoEd.
Consider the following:
Mr. Hensley (according to multiple sources) visited McDeeds Creek LAST WEEK, informed some of the staff that the name was being changed, and indicated he was there to “look around to see where he was going to place a statue” of MSgt John Chapman.
Mr. Hensley posted on his social media page that “Moore County Schools WILL be renaming McDeeds Creek. He did not say they were CONSIDERING it, but that they WILL be doing it (it’s worth noting that Mr. Hensley deleted his original post because he didn’t like the comments from his constituents, but reposted moments later and disabled comments).
Current MCS policy forbids the naming of any school after any person. The school can NOT be renamed unless that policy is modified or rescinded. Yet, Hensley is telling the community that this is a done deal.
There has been no opportunity for the public to provide feedback on this name change and there has been no official vote from the BoEd. Official MCS policy currently forbids what Hensley is trying to do. But he is confident enough this will happen that he has already announced the change with certainty.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we appear to have crowned David Hensley King of the School Board. He is now making every decision - and he is confident that his hand-picked colleagues on the BoEd will fall in line and support every decision. He doesn’t care about getting feedback from parents or taxpayers. He doesn’t care about the costs of his whims. He doesn’t care about anything other than being KING.
The next MoCo BoEd meeting will be held at North Moore High School on 12/12. Public comment sign up at 5.
Here's the new BOE emails if you would like to contact them about the renaming of McDeeds:
David.Hensley@ncmcs.org (Vice Chair)
Ex Assistant for Board - email@example.com
Superintendent Tim Locklair - firstname.lastname@example.org
Shannon Davis, Ken Benway, and Pauline Bruno promised Moore County voters they would listen and respond to the concerns of MCS parents and stakeholders. This is their first test. Will they do as they promised and listen? Or will they bow at Hensley’s feet and kiss his ring?
Time will tell.
Link to petition: https://www.change.org/p/say-no-to-renaming-mcdeeds-creek-elementary?utm_content=cl_sharecopy_35187597_en-US%3A9&recruiter=1115936569&recruited_by_id=46c65e90-acf2-11ea-bacb-a1d9efa7fd95&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_initial&utm_term=psf_combo_share_message&share_bandit_exp=initial-35187597-en-US
.***Commentary by Cheryl Christy. Cheryl can be reached at email@example.com