School superintendent suspended for invoking the name of Jesus during speech
By Kevin Payne
A school superintendent was recently suspended for his position for praising Jesus during graduation ceremony speech.
Dr. Ken Medlin, superintendent of Greene County School system in Willard Missouri, delivered an address during commencement exercise at Willard High School. During the speech he used an acronym, G.U.T.S, which stands for grit, understand and teamwork. It was the “s” that got him into trouble.
“For me, that S stands for my Savior,” he told the group of graduating seniors and their parents. He also invited everyone to join him in prayer. He went on to tell the crowd that everyone needs somebody or something that will guide them to the finish line.
The speech did not go over well with several of the graduating seniors. Several graduates claimed that the speech was both offensive and divisive.
“I came here to graduate, not go to church,” said Preston Schaeffer, one of the graduates in the crowd. “He sort of ruined the rest of my night. It was my last night of high school experience and he chose to talk about religion instead of graduation.”
In the aftermath of the graduation ceremony, Dr. Medlin offered an apology.
“If my behavior was offensive to anyone, then I am truly sorry,” he said. “I in no way wanted to offend anybody. That was not my intention.”
But Dr. Medlin’s apology fell on deaf ears. The offended graduates and their parents demanded that he be punished for invoking the name of Christ in public. The school board agreed and suspended Dr. Medlin until June 30.
“The leave will continue until June 30, 2017 when Dr. Medlin’s contract expires,” a board member said in a statement. “The board’s action was based upon the board’s belief that Dr. Medlin’s High School Commencement Speech violated Board of Education policies regarding prayer at school sponsored events.
Earlier in the year, Dr. Medlin had announced his retirement plans. His last day in office would have been June 30.