Superintendent John Farrelly Respond To The DCN News Blog Online TV About Marvin Wright Diploma Being Withheld During SouthWest Edgecombe Graduation On Friday June 9, 2017

See my Open Letter to the Superintendent by going to the following link: An Open Letter To John Farrelly Superintendent Edgecombe County Public Schools In Response To SouthWest Edgecombe Graduation 2017

From: John Farrelly []
Sent: Sunday, June 18, 2017 09:22
To: The DCN Online Blog/Internet TV Curmilus Dancy II (Butch) @ http://www.thepoliticalagitator. com <>
Subject: Response

Good morning Mr. Dancy,

Attached is a response to your blog post. These will be the last public comments I will make regarding the June 9 SWEHS graduation ceremony. You have been fair in your coverage of the school system for the past 5 years. That’s all I could ask for.

Take care,


John D. Farrelly


Edgecombe County Public Schools

The attachment

Mr. Dancy,

SouthWest Edgecombe High School has a long tradition of providing students with an excellent education. There are many prideful alumni throughout our community, the state and the country. The school is a focal point on the south side of Edgecombe County and rightfully so. The school is led by a committed staff that is focused on preparing students to be scholars and great citizens. Many students thrive at SWEHS and rightfully love their school. Parental and community support is broad.


Unfortunately, the media coverage that unfolded when an individual shared personal information on social media following the June 9 graduation ceremony set off a firestorm of negative attention for the school, several stakeholders, the district and the county. Many opinions have been formed without fully knowing all facts and several details have been omitted, not considered or misconstrued. When questions have been asked in an inquiring manner the responses have been consistent, swift and professional. When emails and calls are degrading and hurtful, they don’t warrant a response. Debating issues is welcomed and can be healthy but there’s a way to go about it.


Confidential individual information cannot be released. However, I can share the following 3 facts related to the June 9 graduation ceremony:

1. The valedictorian and salutatorian are the only 2 individuals who were asked to write a speech, sign an agreement and had a ‘deadline’. There were several speakers that were provided scripts. The scripts were developed so that students could be involved in various roles in the program. This has been customary for several years at SWEHS.

2. There was a violation of school rules during the ceremony.


3. Following the ceremony, a student revealed via social media that their diploma was withheld after the ceremony.


When a student violates school rules, consequences are almost always assigned. This situation was unique in that there was not an opportunity to assign traditional consequences because it’s obviously the last day of the students K-12 tenure. Thus, a decision was made to withhold an individual’s diploma.


The student earned the right to receive the diploma. In my opinion, what should have happened was a private conference with the student/family to address the rules violation and share disappointment in not following school expectations. Withholding the diploma was not the proper step. Once I found out that the diploma was withheld, I asked stakeholders to setup an immediate appointment with the family to discuss the rules violation and to provide the student with the diploma. I did apologize to the family and student on behalf of the school because I felt that the situation was mishandled. It’s not the first time that I have apologized to stakeholders on behalf of the district. If we have erred, then I believe we have a responsibility to own it.


Regarding the suggestion that the school had a right to stop the proceedings: That certainly could have been an option but would we be protecting the dignity of the individual? No. I don’t believe that option should have been used in this incident given the fact that the student said nothing inappropriate. If the speech was interrupted, I believe that would have caused great humiliation to the student in front of 800 people and a television audience. If profanity was used then I fully would have supported unplugging the microphone or asking the student to stop giving the speech. That did not happen in this case.


Each high school in Edgecombe County has set criteria, expectations and procedures in place for commencement exercises. I don’t believe the protocols need to change. Change comes in the choices we make. I hope that we as a community can learn from it, heal and move forward.



My response

From: The DCN News Blog Online TV Curmilus Dancy II (Butch) []
Sent: Sunday, June 18, 2017 12:08
To: John Farrelly <>
Subject: Re: Response

Thank You!

I love your response. This is all I ask at anytime is that all involved tell their story.

Again my friend I appreciate you and wish you the best!

Your response is the best Father’s day present I could receive. Because all of the children of Edgecombe County are my children black, brown, white and other. I also recognize and understand that their parents may not like me but my God spoke to me years ago and told me to be a voice for the children. I will follow his instructions til the end!

I love you my brother!


Curmilus Dancy II (Butch)

Dancy Communications Network

The DCN News Blog/Online TV


Life Fully Paid Member NAACP/2nd Vice President

Edgecombe County Democratic Party Precinct Chair/County Executive Committee/State Executive Committee

(252) 314-5484


“I have no permanent friends no permanent enemies only permanent interest!”

John Farrelly response

From: John Farrelly []
Sent: Sunday, June 18, 2017 15:08
To: The DCN News Blog Online TV Curmilus Dancy II (Butch) <>
Subject: Re: Response

Love you too my friend. Brothers in arms always.

Sent from my iPhone

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