Former SC school board member doesn't 'recall' visiting Facebook post where comments were made, report says

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Lexington One School District says they were "deeply offended" by the racially-charged comments a board member made on Facebook, who resigned on Monday.

But in a report from the Lexington Ledger, Grady Harmon said pain medications he was prescribed following a recent back surgery may have created "gaps in my memory" that "gaps in my memory and I could lose whole periods of time without remembering what I had done or said."

In an announcement from Lexington District One on Monday, the board of trustees was made aware "about a situation...over the weekend" regarding Harmon.

"As a result of that meeting, Mr. Harmon resigned from the Board of Trustees effective immediately due to personal reasons," the school board's statement said. "In his resignation letter, Mr. Harmon stated that he found it impossible to complete his term of office for personal reasons which included that of his health and the health of his immediate family members."

But in screenshots of comments made from an account associated with Harmon on the Facebook page "The Newly Press," his reaction to a post may have been the cause of his resignation.

The Facebook post Harmon commented on reads: "Why is it OK for every race to be proud of their heritage except for white people?"

Harmon's responses include telling a woman that "you can always move to Africa" in addition to a number of other disparaging comments regarding the socioeconomic status, intellect, and criminal background of African Americans.

"The Newly Press" posts daily "in support of President Donald Trump" and his administration and its description ask the more than 217,000 followers to "join their movement." The page posts memes regularly against the media and perceived opponents of the president and other fundamental beliefs.

In response to the comments in question, Lexington District 1 released the following statement:

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.

Attempts by WIS to reach Harmon have not been successful. But Harmon did give a statement to Paul Kirby of the Lexington Ledger, saying he did not recall "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," Harmon told the Ledger.

Harmon did disclose to Kirby that his wife is battling cancer, in addition to his own health issues and he and his family would like to "rest and recover in peace" at this time.

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