Florence NAACP says graduation ceremonies are ‘politicized’; Florence One students excited for speakers

Pee Dee

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – The Florence branch of the NAACP held a news conference Tuesday to express concerns over a couple of the commencement speakers slated for Florence One Schools.

The branch’s president Jerry Keith Junior said upcoming graduations have been ‘shamelessly politicized’ as the district plans to host politicians speak at a couple ceremonies. He also noted it is an election year.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster is set to address West Florence High School and Senator Lindsey Graham is slated for South Florence.

“People are just confused,” Keith said. “This is not the time to play politics with people.”

Keith claimed that having politicians speak- specifically during an election year- is going against policy. He referenced this school board policy:

“The board prohibits campaigning in the public schools by individual candidates or parties for municipal, school board, county, state, or federal elections with the following exceptions:

  • schools may organize all candidate forums for educational purposes
  • school space may be rented after school hours by a candidate or party on a commercial basis

The district did not provide a comment about the concerns.

Many students though seemed thrilled about the guest speakers.

“They wanted to have the best senior year we could and it’s been taken away from us. and they want to recognize us and let us now they’re here for us,” West Florence senior Hale Emerson said. “And I thought that was very special. I don’t know why anyone would think they’re trying to make it political.”

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