Union Co. charter school calls emergency meeting about safety after teacher’s death connected to drug cartel | #teacher | #children | #kids

Union Academy’s first priority is always to protect the children entrusted to us and to create a safe place for our students and staff. That includes a comprehensive process that begins before any employees are hired. Every Union Academy employee candidate undergoes an extensive background check before he or she is hired, which includes a search of federal, state, and local criminal records. In addition, Union Academy has technology that searches a list of our employees against North Carolina law enforcement records daily. If there is a match, we receive an email alert. The process worked, and Union Academy received an alert regarding the misdemeanor concealed weapon citation Barney Harris received in New Hanover County, N.C. in August 2020. School administrators immediately addressed the situation with Mr. Harris and took action they believed was appropriate, based on the information available at the time. Union Academy recently learned that the Oklahoma Highway Patrol cited Mr. Harris for possession of a container that included marijuana residue on Sept. 17, 2020. It is important to note that the alert system we use only searches North Carolina records, and Union Academy was not aware of this charge. We are currently reviewing and updating our background check and response policies and processes to determine whether changes are needed. Union Academy is a close community, and we are devastated by the details surrounding this situation. We continue to focus on supporting our students, families and staff now and in the days ahead. Any questions about the investigation should be directed to the appropriate law enforcement officials.

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