Prohibit students participating in racially charged photo from graduating ceremonies!!!

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On May 17, 2018, I was both deeply sadden and appalled when I saw that players of the Telfair County tennis team took the racially charged photo above on school property after reportedly being defeated by a team with African-American players. As an alumna of Telfair High, I know many Telfair county citizens do not condone this behavior or share this type of racial sentiment; however, some do.  Superintendant Dr. Lenard Harrelson and Prinicpal Eric Cowart, I ask that the both of you make a statement to declare that you do not condone or share these sentiments by prohibiting these students from participating in 2018 graduating ceremonies. 

Dr. Harrelson, you stated on your website, "Telfair County School District is committed to the “Pursuit of Excellence” in all educational endeavors."  You then went on to say that you believe our students’ potential can be maximized by utilizing the philosophical framework of rigor, respect, and relationships. Sir, extra-curricular activities such as tennis helps to build this framework in students.  These students disrespected themselves, our county, our community, and poorly represented Telfair County High to the public.  Being this close to the end of the year, I feel that the most impactful punishment would be to prohibit these students from graduating ceremonies.  I've spoken to several students and parents who do not wish for graduating ceremonies to have a dark and gray racial cloud hoovering above the field.

Lastly, Dr. Harrelson also stated, "the element of respect is critical to the success of our school district. This needs to be a shared respect between students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community." The actions of these players were of the upmost disrespect to our students, faculty, staff, administrators and community of color and any other race that was offended.  Their intentions and innuendo was clear.  This is not a case of ignorance because one of the students are reported to be Salutatorian. This was not a joke because many people are hurt and upset; however, some things are perceived as funny until someone gets hurt. Many people are angered and I urge the administration to take a stand and administer quick and just consequences to show the citizens that this behavior will not be tolerated on school property in Telfair County, GA.

I am aware that the students will be disciplined; however, I am not convinced that the judgment in this case will be satisfactory to the people who are offended most.  Because if this, I am asking you once again, Dr. Lenard Harrelson and Principal Eric Cowart, to prohibit these students from participating in 2018 graduating ceremonies.

 You can email the Superintendent Harrelson at lfharrelson@telfairschools.org and/or Principal Cowart at ecowart@telfairschools.org



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