Rapper's School Visit Upsets Parents

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An incident at a Georgia school has some parents wondering who's talking to their kids during school hours.

A rapper who recently spent time in prison spoke to students at an Atlanta middle school. Some parents were upset when they found out about the speaker's background and said they weren't notified ahead of time.

Tom and Candi Myers say they were surprised when one of their daughters came home from school earlier this year and told them about their guest speaker.

"'Guess who was at school today?,' Myers recalled. "I said, 'Who?' They said, 'T.I., the rapper.' "

The Myers and other parents expressed their displeasure against the decision by educators at Woodland Middle School to allow T.I. speak to students.

The rapper, whose real name is Clifford Harris, Jr., has a criminal history dating back to 1998. Last year, he served a one year sentence on federal weapons charges for possession of machine guns and silencers.

"Had I had the opportunity to not let them go, I would have let them sit out," Myers said.

Myers wrote an e-mail to the school's principal that read in part, "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."

The principal replied to Myers e-mail.

"Mr. Harris has never been convicted of homicide. We would not be able to adequately staff our state's General Assembly, our U.S. Congress or the executive branch of our government using your apparent standards," wrote Dr. Terry Oatts, the principal of Woodland Middle School.

A spokesperson for Henry County Schools in Atlanta told CBN News that Harris did speak at Woodland Middle School at a bullying prevention assembly.

In an email to CBN News, spokesperson Connie Rutherford wrote, "Henry County Schools has no board policy specifically relating to notifying parents of speakers and special assemblies. The school posted the assembly on the website's weekly agenda. It is my understanding the speaker of the assembly was meant to be a surprise for students, so the name was not on the agenda."

For the Myers and other parents, that's unacceptable.

"To me, if they're going to have a speaker come to that school, they need to vet those speakers just a little bit more and find out. And, in any case, ask for permission," Myers said.

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CBN News
Mark Martin

Mark Martin

CBN News Reporter

Mark Martin is a reporter and anchor at CBN News, covering various issues from military matters to alternative fuels. Mark has reported internationally in the Middle East and traveled to Bahrain to cover stories on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkMartinCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/MarkMartinCBN.