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

Breaking News: Edgecombe County super tapped to lead Dare County Schools

The Watch Dog response: I felt that Dr. Farrelly would be leaving at some point in time. Some folk said they didn’t see it coming. I love how he handled his business broke up some clicks and was not afraid to put the safety of the children first when it came to bad weather. Folk superintendents come and they go so I ain’t mad with him. I just say that I strongly believe Edgecombe County is losing a good guy.

After a months-long process of narrowing down a field of 78 qualified candidates, the Board of Education has chosen a seasoned administrator from Edgecombe County to lead Dare County Schools.

John D. Farrelly will take over when Superintendent Sue Burgess retires July 1, board Chairwoman Bea Basnight said in announcing the choice Saturday.

Farrelly appeared with his family when the board emerged from a closed session during a special meeting at Manteo Elementary School.

Edgecombe County, with a popluation of about 56,000, is slightly larger than Dare County and includes Rocky Mount and Tarboro. It has 15 schools. Farrelly has served as superintendent there since 2012.

Before that, he was superintendent of Washington County, N.C. schools for three years and assisistant superintendent of Alleghany County, N.C. schools for eight years.

Candidates came from 30 states and Washington, D.C., and were screened by a consulting firm that included three former superintendents. The Board reviewed videos of 10 finalists and interviewed five. They were then narrowed to four for more interviewing. (Read more)

Video/Pictures: Edgecombe County Public Schools – Leadership Academy Training Day 4


This chart Superintendent Farrelly is holding is history. He tore it up and put it in the trash.

Click on picture to view more pictures.

The Leadership Academy Training day 4 began with an opening by Dr. Meghan Doyle DPI with a brief overview of day 1 – 3. Only the schools and central office DPI were present today no parents nor students present. I guess I was the only parent present.

Superintendent John Farrelly followed Dr. Doyle and he showed a video of some of the activities from day 1 – 3. Farrelly put captions on the pictures and everyone was dying laughing. They gave a round of applause after the video of themselves. After the video Farrelly rolled over a trash can and he pulled out paper charts that was stationed at the central office where items had been recorded of weaknesses in the central office.

Following Farrelly was Karen Dameron Assistant Superintendent who talked about how she had observed the group during this training. She said she observed several things so therefore she put together an exercise dealing with animals. She asked everyone to pick an animal that represented being slow, quick, one that is a metaphor that changes and one that can keep things in their minds.

The turtle represented being slow, the cheater represented quickness, the butterfly represented change and the elephant represented being able to keep things in their minds.

Dameron then asked the elementary, middle, high school, DPI and central office to get together in groups to come up with how they would address each animal in their schools. The groups then gave their response.

I think everyone enjoyed the exercise that would be a means of accountability for each school.

Dannie T. Williams Principal North Edgecombe High School was given the opportunity to address the group. He asked that everyone stand up and make a circle. He said he wanted to share something with everyone, something that he does in his school. He asked everyone to hold hands. He held up a ball and he said watch the ball and see what happens when we are connected. Wow! Williams showed that the ball will light up when everyone is holding hands (connected). He asked that someone in the back to take their hands out of the person’s hand beside them. The light went out. He asked the person to put their hands in the person hand beside them again and the light came back on. He asked that someone to the left of him to take their hands out of the person’s hand beside them and the light went out again. But then when they (reconnected) the light came back on. What a powerful presentation. I think everyone was amazed and everyone including myself wanted to know where did he got that ball.

Dr. Doyle then asked that DPI and the central office to go to their meeting rooms. She asked that the elementary, middle and high schools to stay here in the gymnasium. The groups were asked to do a peer review.

I have really enjoyed all that have taken place this morning and if everyone keeps this up I believe ECPS will go to another level.


Click on the Superintendent to watch video.

Read more:

Edgecombe County Public Schools: Leadership Academy helping participants develop vision for schools – Daily Southerner

Edgecombe County Public Schools