Salutatorian receives diploma

Published 1:15 pm Wednesday, June 7, 2017

By Beth Alston

AMERICUS — The salutatorian of the Class of 2017 of Americus-Sumter High School has received her diploma.
Na’Charlesia Floyd gave an “unapproved” speech at the graduation ceremony on May 20. Principal Kimothy Hadley sent her parents a letter stating that the student would not receive her diploma “due to defiance and not following directions when told her speech’s first page was not appropriate for addressing the graduation audience. Na’Charlesia’s speech did not address the captive audience or the Class of 2017 demographics as a whole. Page 81 of the student’s handbook states, ‘While on school grounds or during school activities engaging in any verbal or physical act of bigotry whether observed, overheard, or known to be fact, by a member of the school faculty’ is a violation of the student code of conduct.”
An appeals hearing was first scheduled for June 1 but was postponed because Floyd and her mother were out of the country. The hearing was held Monday afternoon before a “neutral panel” consisting of Ashley Beaver, Walter Knighton, Sabrina Pitts, all from the Sumter County Schools district office.
Hadley said the hearing was held to get then entire story.
“We held the meeting to hear both sides, and had due process,” he told the Times-Recorder Tuesday. “A neutral panel heard the facts and based on that information, the decision was made to award the student her diploma.”
Floyd’s speech applauded some of her classmates while ignoring others.