Lexington Ledger Exclusive: Former District One board member Harmon says that if he made racial comm
Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – Former Lexington County School District One Board of Trustees member Grady Harmon who resigned on Monday says that if he made any racially insensitive posts on social media as some have alleged, he doesn’t recall writing them. Harmon said that he was summoned to a meeting on Monday after the post was supposedly brought to the attention of some of the administration of the district over the weekend. After the confrontation and the allegations were made, he resigned in an effort to do what was best, not as an admission of any guilt according to Harmon.
The alleged posts were made on a site called The Newly Press according to his accusers. The page is a strong proponent of president Donald Trump and his administration. It closely aligns itself with the president’s supposed ideology and what they say are his “fundamental beliefs.”
Harmon says that when he was confronted at a local restaurant on Monday by other board members, he was given a written printout of the post he was supposed to have made. It was made from a Facebook account that others have alleged was “associated” with Harmon according to his accusers.
The major concern was with remarks that he supposedly made on a post by someone else. That post, written by the unidentified person read, "Why is it OK for every race to be proud of their heritage except for white people?" His accusers alleged that a response to the post from an account associated with Harmon included a line that told a woman, "You can always move to Africa." There were other comments on the post that would have been seen as racial slurs to people of an African American heritage.
In a statement made exclusively to The Lexington Ledger on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 27, 2018, Harmon said the following:
“Since the end of February, I have been on very powerful prescription pain medications as a result of back surgery from an injury I have suffered with for many years. I do not remember making any racial or derogatory comments on any social media site or in person to or about anyone. I don’t even recall ever visiting the page that my accusers refer to. Anyone who knows me, knows that I have always been a watchdog for the common people of District One. It would be totally out of my character to attack the people that I have fought so hard to defend, love, and respect so much. That being said, when these allegations were made, I was at a point where I was sick, tired, and hurting both physically and emotionally. My wife is also extremely ill and being treated for cancer and that's been draining on both of us. Through this all, I still served and faithfully fulfilled my responsibilities to the people and children of the district without regards to race, religion, or any other factors. To say that I would attack people who are poor and downtrodden would be totally unlike me, and anyone who truly knows me knows that. I am an ordained minister and have always loved everyone just as God loved us all when he gave his Son to die for all of us; not just people of one color or race. I have fought for the people of the less affluent areas of the county since being elected. That’s who I am and what I do. That is why I was confused when confronted, but I resigned in an effort to do what was best and right.
As of Tuesday morning, I have consulted with my attending physician regarding the prescription medications he currently has me on. He also recently took me off some other medicines that I have taken by prescription for a number of years. He told me that these new drugs, coupled with some withdrawal symptoms from the others,could cause gaps in my memory and I could lose whole periods of time without remembering what I had done or said. After being faced with this, I simply no longer have the will to fight. My mind and body are worn and weary. If there was even a small possibility that I said something insensitive about the people that I love and serve, I feel that I did the right thing Monday. In an effort to take the highroad and do what I thought was correct, I resigned.
I would like to thank all of my supporters and all of the people who have counted on me in the past. I appreciate your continued prayers for my wife and my health and full recovery in the future. I now ask that you let us rest and recover in peace.”
In a statement released to the local media by Lexington School District One, they said, “On Sunday, March 25, 2018, Lexington County School District One was made aware of remarks made on social media by former Board Member Grady V. Harmon.
The board and administration were deeply offended by the comments, as the statements do not reflect the values of our community or school system.
As a result, on Monday, March 26, the Board Chair and Board Secretary met with Mr. Harmon, shared the report received and stressed their strong reservations about what was posted. Thereafter, Mr. Harmon submitted a letter of resignation from the board.
Policy BC — Board Member Conduct states that the first and greatest concern for all board members must be the educational welfare of all students attending the public schools. It is the responsibility of each board member to represent the board and district to the public in a way which promotes both interest and support.
In short, the board and superintendent wish to make it clear that Lexington District One is a caring community, which supports all learners. Our schools are a place where all our children can dream big dreams. Lexington County School District One believes all means ALL.
It is the district’s position that based on swift action by the board and Mr. Harmon’s realization of the detrimental effects of his comments, the district can continue to move forward in its quest to cultivate a caring community where ALL learners are extraordinary communicators, collaborators, creators and critical thinkers.”