Winston-Salem, N.C. -- The State Bureau of Investigation recently wrapped up its investigation of Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools, but many changes prompted by that investigation have already been in place for years.
The SBI began investigating the district back in September 2010. Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O'Neill discovered the district was conducting its own investigations about teacher misconduct before contacting police.
The SBI searched through the school district's records and found about 20 cases that should have been referred to law enforcement, but were not. Three of those cases resulted in charges being filed against teachers. Soon after the investigation began, the school district and its attorney parted ways.
With the help of a new attorney, the district developed a new plan.
"It may just be coming out now, but the steps we are taking aren't new. We have been taking them for several years. It includes reporting allegations of sexual misconduct, serious and violent crimes, and reporting those right away to law enforcement," WSFCS Spokesperson Theo Helm said.
Even though the changes have been in place for years, parents are just now finding out about all this. Mothers WFMY News 2 spoke to said they are glad the district changed its policy.
"It's extremely important, because, if not, then the school officials may possibly bury the information under paperwork," parent Letesha Jones said.
Another parent, Kathy Carpenter, added, "I trust my child with the school district. You have my kid, my pride and joy, for six or seven hours a day. If something happens and the police aren't called, I would be suspicious about why."
The Forsyth County District Attorney's Office and the Forsyth County Sheriff's Department both say the district has drastically improved the way it reports incidents.