Teacher accused of racist remarks will keep her job

CAMDEN COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) — After weeks of controversy, the Camden County Board of Education has decided a teacher accused of making racist statements will keep her job.

The alleged racist comment happened in early October. Two students came forward and said they heard Cynthia Ramsey say if she only had ten days to live, she would kill all black people.

Ramsey, a math teacher, was suspended for two weeks from the high school, but appealed her suspension and was allowed back in the classroom.

Superintendent Melvin Hawkins said the board did a thorough investigation, from the time allegations were made.

“Based on the findings from the investigation by Camden County schools, there was not enough evidence to confirm this allegation,” Hawkins read in a statement during Thursday night’s meeting. “Further, it was determined at no time did Mrs. Ramsey threaten any Camden County student or staff member. Therefore grounds for recommendation of dismal do not exist.”

There were seven students in the classroom when the alleged comments were made. 10 On Your Side spoke with three of the girls, who claimed they never heard Ramsey say the racist remarks. Ramsey also denied making the comments.

“You use the kangaroo court to come to a decision,” said Kevin Lightly from the Camden County NAACP. “You have approximately seven children involved. You do a preliminary investigation, they say one thing. You do your final investigation and they say a different thing. Two students’ stories remain the same throughout. You basically said the two students lied.”

Kimberley Ashcraft’s daughter was one of the students who said she heard the comment.

“I’m appalled,” Ashcraft said Thursday night, after the superintendent’s announcement. “I don’t even know what to say.”

Camden County Sheriff Tony Perry investigated the incident and sent his findings to the district attorney’s office, which determined no charges will be filed.

Document: Statement from Superintendent Melvin Hawkins

Ashcraft showed 10 On Your Side a copy of Perry’s investigation. In it, one student told investigators she heard Ramsey say something about “10 days to live,” but didn’t hear anything after that. A lieutenant even wrote that after interviewing the kids in the class and Ramsey, he believed there was truth to the allegations.

“I wanted to give them the opportunity to do the right thing, and they failed,” Ashcraft said. “They failed not only just my children, they failed this school and the entire community. It not okay.”

Hawkins would not take any questions about the decision. He did say Ramsey would be suspended for three unpaid days because the board determined Ramsey was talking about her personal matters with the students — topics they said should not have been discussed in the classroom. Hawkins did not know when that suspension would begin.

The board did say more action could be taken, if new information surfaces.

Local NAACP members told 10 On Your Side this is far from over. They plan to bring the state NAACP in to investigate the decision.

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