Posted: Thursday – April 22, 2010
The principal of Woodland Middle School in Henry County, New Jersey, has come under fire over rapper T.I.‘s recent appearance.
T.I., born Clifford Harris Jr., appeared at the school on March 5th and spoke to students.
Parents of some students took issue with the fact that they were not notified of who would be speaking to their children.
T.I., who was recently released from a halfway house to house arrest with a curfew, served a year in prison for attempting to purchase multiple machine guns with silencers.
As part of his probation, the rapper was sentenced to 1,500 hours of community service, 1,000 of which were completed prior to his prison sentence.
He flew around the country visiting middle schools, recreational centers and various Boys & Girls Clubs, where he encouraged teens to stay away from drugs, violence and gangs.
Tom Myers, who has four children in the school, was one of several parents who complained about T.I.’s appearance in a letter to principal Dr. Terry Oaks.
“In the future, if T.I. or any other convicted felon needs to perform community service, ask for parental permission to allow our children to be exposed to these questionable individuals,” wrote Tom Myers, who has four daughters in the school.
According to Atlanta’s Channel 2 Action News, Dr. Oates sent a series of questionable replies in defense of the rapper that upset parents.
“I thought about asking a guy who snorted cocaine and got arrested for DUI when he was 30 to come and speak to our kids, but President George W. Bush was not available,” Dr. Oates allegedly replied.
In another letter, Dr. Oates again defended T.I.’s appearance and noted that the rapper had never been convicted of “homicide.”
“Mr. Harris has never been convicted of homicide. We would not be able to adequately staff our states general assembly, our U.S. Congress or the executive branch of our government using your apparent standards,” Dr. Oates allegedly wrote in an email.
School officials are investigating the emails sent by Dr. Oates. They are also looking into their speaker’s policy, which does not require administrators contact parents when a guest comes to the school to speak.