WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — A mentor with the non-profit Action4Equity who was working in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools was fired after an alleged inappropriate relationship with a student, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. The district is now halting its work with Action4Equity as police investigate.

The partnership launched in December 2021 and placed community mentors in four WS/FCS schools: Paisley Middle School, Philo-Hill Middle School, Parkland High School and Reynolds High School.

The school district ended its $1.4 million contract with the program on June 30 in response to the allegations, and, on Wednesday, notified parents of the investigation.

The Journal obtained a letter from WS/FCS General Counsel Dionne Jenkins to Action4Equity President and CEO Kellie Easton dated June 30. In it, Jenkins says the school district learned that Action4Equity fired a mentor on June 20 for “reportedly engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a student at the school the mentor served.”

The mentor has since been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, Jenkins wrote.

“Upon information and belief, the child at issue in the criminal charge is in the mentorship program and is a different child from the one that led to Action4Equity’s termination of the policy,” Jenkins wrote.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports that the mentor, who may have been assigned to Philo-Hill Middle School, was charged with helping a 14-year-old get a vape on June 21 and was arrested on June 24, citing an arrest warrant.

The district believes the mentor may have violated other school district policies, including one addressing the transportation of students.

Action4Equity issued a statement on Tuesday, defending the organization and its mission after “recent events” prompted some to “question the integrity of our work.”

“Those who have been busy spreading rumors on social media and elsewhere are misrepresenting facts and engaging in unwarranted speculation,” Action4Equity said. “We know our work, and we stand on the reputation that we have labored so hard to build with our community. “

The organization added that the ongoing investigation means that it cannot share certain details publicly at this time.

“But we remain committed to the transparency with our community that has consistently characterized our way of being,” Action4Equity said. “We will not waver from it, and we cannot leave these children behind – at this moment or ever. The steadfast support of our community is what has brought us thus far, and it is what will carry us through in the days that lie ahead. No one is free, until all of us are free.”

Read the full statement from Action4Equity below:

From its inception, Action4Equity has been dedicated to systems change and dismantling the patterns and practices that create inequities in our public schools. The launch of the Embedded Mentoring Program (EMP) in December 2021 was aligned with both our Strategic Framework and our Policy Platform, namely: to support the grassroots as the central voice and driving force for change, and to end exclusionary discipline, while creating culturally affirming learning environments. The EMP was always – and will remain – a program based in and driven by the community; we have always believed that this position is what empowers an initiative such as this one to be an instrument for the change that is needed. That is apparent, now more than ever.

Recent events have led some in the community to question the integrity of our work with this program and our capacity to protect our youth while also serving their interests in access to an equitable education. Nothing is of greater importance to us than the safety of our students, and the safety of our children who we fight for daily and who we are so privileged to serve as part of the EMP. That care and concern has guided every move that we have made in this program. Those who have been busy spreading rumors on social media and elsewhere are misrepresenting facts and engaging in unwarranted speculation. We know our work, and we stand on the reputation that we have labored so hard to build with our community.

There is much that we cannot share publicly at this time because of ongoing investigations, but we remain committed to the transparency with our community that has consistently characterized our way of being. We will not waver from it, and we cannot leave these children behind – at this moment or ever. The steadfast support of our community is what has brought us thus far, and it is what will carry us through in the days that lie ahead. No one is free, until all of us are free.