East Clarendon graduate sues District 3 board, superintendent, principal

by | June 23, 2017 9:04 am

Last Updated: June 23, 2017 at 2:30 pm

Flury Wilson, left, filed a lawsuit earlier this month in Clarendon County common pleas court, alleging that various officials in Clarendon School District 3 deliberately altered grades or behaved in some other manner to keep her from being the Class of 2016 valedictorian outright.

Clarendon School District 3’s school board, superintendent and high school principal and guidance counselor have found themselves in the midst of a legal action pertaining to an issue with the graduating Class of 2016.
The family of co-valedictorian Flury Wilson, who graduated June 3, 2016, has filed suit against the board, Superintendent Connie Dennis and East Clarendon High School Principal Jason Cook and Guidance Counselor Sharon DuRant, accusing the defendants of wrongfully labeling Wilson as the co-valedictorian of her graduating class and marking her placement as No. 2 in the class on her permanent records.
Paperwork filed June 5 in Clarendon County Common Pleas Court alleges that Wilson held the No. 1 ranking in her class prior to May 26, 2017, “based on her academic performance and accomplishment of earning the top grades for the respective school year and grading periods.”
However, Wilson was informed May 27, 2016, that her class ranking had changed form No. 1 to No. 2, without any proper justification given, her suit alleges.
Wilson, who was preparing to serve as class valedictorian that very day for Class Day and during graduation ceremonies June 3, 2016, was ultimately listed as co-valedictorian in both programs.
“The plaintiff received notice May 27, 2016, that she was ranked No. 2 and she and another student would serve as joint valedictorians at the Commencement Ceremony,” reads the paperwork filed against the defendants.
Wilson’s suit alleges that “the defendants allowed the improper grade submissions of a known student, specifically the student now holding the No. 1 ranking, which altered the ranking of the plaintiff all in a grossly negligent manner and intentionally and conscious failure to safe guard the academic achievement and class ranking of the plaintiff.”
Wilson’s suit further alleges that “grossly negligent record keeping” on the part of the high school led to the errors.
“Even after the 2015-16 school year ended, the plaintiffs sought proper resolution from the defendants as to the plaintiff’s class ranking and sought to restore her to the correct and proper position she has earned based on her academic record,” reads the complaint against the district. “As a result, the plaintiffs have been damaged due to the grossly negligent actions of the defendants, and due to the intentional and conscious failure to investigate the plaintiff’s class ranking and the acceptance of the submission of grades by another student after the deadline to submit grades for the purpose of GPA calculations and due to the defendants failure to return her to the No. 1 position she rightfully earned over the course of her grading periods in her high school academic career.”
The student who held the co-valedictorian ranking with Wilson is not named in the suit, which directly names school board members Jason Newsome, Ellis Evans, John Hardy, George Frierson, Ron Wingard, Dale McKenzie and Norma Reardon.
The paperwork accuses the board members, Dennis, DuRant and Cook in separate paragraphs with “acting in a manner to change, alter or improperly record student grades that resulted in the wrongful class ranking of the plaintiff, and that such action was grossly negligent and was an intentional and conscious failure to properly maintain the grades and class ranking of the plaintiff.”
Andrea White, the attorney retained to represent the defendants in this case, said last week that “this is an unfortunate situation, but the district believes it acted properly.”
“We will be answering it within the time allotted by the law, which is 30 days from the time of service,” said White, a partner with White and Story Law Firm out of Columbia. “The district believes it handled the situation involving the determination of the valedictorian for the 2015-16 school year properly and that no district policy or state law or Department of Education regulations were violated.”
White said Thursday that she knew a summons and complaint had been served on the district office itself, which is effective legal service on the school board, but that she did not know yet whether Cook, Dennis and DuRant had been personally served.

comments » 63

  1. Comment by Bishop J

    June 23, 2017 at 10:06

    this was a bad deal for both these young ladies.

  2. Comment by Jessie Lawson

    June 23, 2017 at 10:29

    This is lod news, this story was in a local paper last week. Why do you have to shine a negative light on our schools?

  3. Comment by Robert Joseph Baker

    June 23, 2017 at 11:24

    We are obligated to post news, good and bad, about the school districts. Also, this was in our paper. So, we have now posted it to the website. It was not in another paper. And it was this week.

  4. Comment by Bishop J

    June 23, 2017 at 12:45

    It was in the Times yesterday and NPR last week. This is a weakly paper, so you will have delays. But why would you print this instead of posting it first? You may have beaten put NPR.

  5. Comment by Facts

    June 23, 2017 at 14:41

    This is nothing but lies.

  6. Comment by Bishop J

    June 23, 2017 at 14:58

    Really, it did appear in yesterday’s manning times! That’s on lie I saw it.

  7. Comment by Facts

    June 23, 2017 at 15:11

    I wasn’t talking about what you said. The article is nothing but lies!!

  8. Comment by Bishop J

    June 23, 2017 at 15:51

    I know, I was just messing with you. The article is hard to follow, what is not true?

  9. Comment by Jaba

    June 23, 2017 at 16:39

    Sounds like the school prematurely announced the Valedictorian but quickly realized a mistake had been made. If all of someone’s grades weren’t accounted for, then clearly it should have been corrected. If that altered the rankings, then it’s unfortunate, but you wouldn’t have true rankings without all of the grades. I am sure being given a Valedictorian title only to have it taken away the next day was very hurtful, but it was due to a human error that deserved to be corrected. How could you expect or want to be given a #1 ranking over a ‘deadline’ technicality? Such a shame to drag the school into a lawsuit over this.

  10. Comment by Outsider

    June 23, 2017 at 17:02

    Jabs hit the nail on the head. Unfortunate situation but the numbers don’t lie. Someone’s looking for some extra cash. Both students went to college tuition free.

  11. Comment by Former Wolverine

    June 23, 2017 at 17:44

    This has been happening since before I graduated. It’s no lie. It happened to a few people I know in the past few years.

  12. Comment by Shane

    June 23, 2017 at 18:06

    Hahaha thats EC for ya….well thats life for ya…welcome to the world where it screws you over

  13. Comment by Confused

    June 23, 2017 at 18:41

    How can you have a co-valedictorian?! Wouldn’t that make one of them the salutatorian unless they had the same GPA down to the decimal…🤔

  14. Comment by Rosa Parks

    June 23, 2017 at 18:53

    STAND FOR SOMETHING OR FALL FOR ANYTHING-unknown

  15. Comment by Really?

    June 23, 2017 at 19:07

    Seems like someone is a little money hungry! She should be happy she graduated and got into college free!

  16. Comment by Jennifer

    June 23, 2017 at 19:37

    This is ridiculous! Pull up your big girl panties and get over it! Life is not always fair.

  17. Comment by Really

    June 23, 2017 at 20:14

    So I guess the contestant that Steve Harvey announced won Miss America should’ve kept the title since he had already called her name even though she wasn’t the “real” winner. If y’all don’t mind, gather all the programs printed from 2016 graduation and a huge bottle of white out we’ll get this taken care of.

  18. Comment by Paul Martin

    June 23, 2017 at 20:16

    Who changed the picture? That’s not the same girls. Ya’ll have to do a better job of reporting and get all the facts right the first time and not post the wrong people.

    Watch them delete my post. Obliged to post the news my nose. I have you delete post that you don’t like.

  19. Comment by Make America Indigenous Again

    June 23, 2017 at 20:40

    Lol, using the logic here Hillary Clinton should be president.

  20. Comment by Facts

    June 23, 2017 at 22:10

    Y’all are just to funny…😂🤣 it’s all about the 💰… she looks mighty happy in that picture …. 😂

  21. Comment by Billy Lawson

    June 23, 2017 at 22:49

    It does seem like they would have used a picture showing her not so happy.

  22. Comment by Wolverine Proud

    June 23, 2017 at 23:28

    Rumor is that the plaintiff has lost her scholarship so now she decides to sue!

  23. Comment by Support East Clarendon

    June 23, 2017 at 23:51

    Interestingly enough, the plaintiff’s mother taught in Clarendon 3 for many years and her other children continue to attend school in Clarendon 3. I would not allowed my other children to attend a school that I was sueing for being incompetent. The lawsuit is completely ridiculous and based on untruths.

  24. Comment by ....

    June 23, 2017 at 23:57

    Not possible! The plaintiff has a 4.0 GPA! This is a sad case and you all have nothing better to do than to cause more pain on a beautiful young lady. Shame on you all..

  25. Comment by #Not my Valedictorian

    June 24, 2017 at 00:31

    Shame on the plaintiff for sueing the district. She has opened herself up to all of this. The Real Valedictorian is the one who is being treated unfairly. The only reason the plaintiff was mistakenly named Valedictorian was because two classes were not included on the Real Valedictorians transcripts. Once these classes were calculated, the plaintiff dropped to number 2. Fair and Square! They chose not to publicly embarrass the plaintiff by letting her be co-Valedictorian. The Real Valedictorian was gracious enough to share the title with the plaintiff. Now, this is how the Real Valedictorian and the district gets treated — Shame on you!

  26. Comment by Shame

    June 24, 2017 at 02:28

    This probably is true because this type of stuff happens all the time. Nothing should be reported until all final grades are in then no mistake would be made. Trying to put people where they are not is a shame..

  27. Comment by Dominique brinkley

    June 24, 2017 at 02:39

    Wondering who the Attorney is that took this case

  28. Comment by ....

    June 24, 2017 at 03:11

    Shame on the district for not following the procedures that they have outlined in the board policy manual. This happens too often and it must be corrected.

  29. Comment by #Not my Valedictorian

    June 24, 2017 at 08:15

    Obviously, the district made a mistake, but a lawsuit?? The plaintiff went through all the pomp and circumstance and was not publicly embarrassed and her title was not removed. Now, a year later she decides to sue?? It doesn’t make any sense unless she truly has lost her scholarship and now needs money for tuition.

  30. Comment by Support EC

    June 24, 2017 at 10:00

    What happened was unfortunate for all parties involved but a lawsuit over something that did not cause any scholarship monies to be lost is sadly only going to hurt the children who remain at East Clarendon including their other remaining children. I would hope that this would
    cause policy to be revised or followed if that is what did indeed cause this to occur but, Clarendon Three has struggled with their money situation for several years and doesn’t have money to be lost on this frivolity. He is about to call himself a preacher and she is calling herself an educator??? Where in this are they thinking about the children who will REALLY be effected by this??

  31. Comment by Reality

    June 24, 2017 at 10:55

    NONE OF YOUR OPINIONS MATTER. GO HOME AND BE ADULTS.

  32. Comment by Bishop J

    June 24, 2017 at 11:18

    Well, everybody’s option counts, the best way to solve a problem is to discuss the issue using facts and throwing out rumors. These posts explained what the artical didn’t.

  33. Comment by Bishop J

    June 24, 2017 at 11:59

    Opinion, dang spell check

  34. Comment by Mac

    June 24, 2017 at 15:10

    Thinking the school should counter by revoking the gracious title they gave her. If she was second, she wasn’t first. It’s not rocket science people. Seems cut and dry!

  35. Comment by Just a thought

    June 24, 2017 at 15:33

    Here’s a thought. The district should counter sue. When the district wins the plaintiff should have to pay all of the districts legal fees. That would stop a lot of this nonsense.

  36. Comment by Mac

    June 24, 2017 at 16:14

    The other co val should also sue. Seems like she’s the one with a case, not the entitlement hungry one that’s suing.

  37. Comment by CAM

    June 24, 2017 at 16:39

    The family has a right to seek resolution! The student’s change in rank could have cost her scholarship opporunities! I don’t know what this District does but in most districts seniors exams, grades and attendance is finalize at least two prior to graduation, unless the student was having academic difficulties! I highly doubt it that the School and District would not have known the outcome of the Val before the day of graduation! #MakeitRight!

  38. Comment by Mac

    June 24, 2017 at 16:45

    I think Dixie may have a case if this does. Dixie lost the state championship to EC. EC should hand over their trophy. How stupid does that sound. It’s the same in this case. She was second and the school tried to save her some embarrassment and this is how they are rewarded??

  39. Comment by Not the 60's

    June 24, 2017 at 17:20

    Being a former Wolverine and knowing how thing operate in that town. We all know that there are a few “Last names” that feel entitled. This young Lady set a goal to be Valedictorian way back in middle school and has worked her behind off to meet that goal. ” It’s s in her blood” and here a week before graduation this crazy stunt is pulled so that someone else can get what they feel is entitled to them, not what they work for…. I’m so surprised they didn’t have a Black Valedictorian and White Valedictorian, Oooh they did! Good ole EC is known for that. Black prom at the school White prom at the country club. Black homecoming court and White homecoming court. It’s time for that B.S. to stop this ain’t “Salem” . This same issue has accured in the past and it was brushed off. It’s 2017 we ain’t afraid to fight for ours!

  40. Comment by Wolverine Proud

    June 24, 2017 at 19:22

    So you fight by sueing? What a joke. Maybe you should fight by studying a little harder so you can honestly and respectfully earn the privilege to be number 1 and not have to sue for it.

  41. Comment by Mac

    June 24, 2017 at 19:33

    So everybody that works hard should be first? Okay, WAKEUP! This ain’t Walgreens, it’s life! Deal with it!

  42. Comment by Cb10

    June 24, 2017 at 19:54

    Trophies for everyone. You get a free grade and you get a free grade.

  43. Comment by Mac

    June 24, 2017 at 20:00

    Not a lawyer but could the school counter sue for slander?

  44. Comment by #Not my Valedictorian

    June 24, 2017 at 21:37

    The plaintiff never was number one – not in middle school, not in high-school, and not a week before graduation. The plaintiff was the head marshall, right??? Oh, I forgot- she was not first or even second her junior year! Maybe more like fifth. This entire lawsuit is a huge pile of garbage!

  45. Comment by Just a thought

    June 24, 2017 at 21:59

    Come on now “Not the 60’s”. I went to Salem and we didn’t have a white prom and a black prom. We had one prom and every student that paid tuition in the 11th and 12th grades were invited to attend.

  46. Comment by Another perspective

    June 25, 2017 at 02:31

    Most ppl knew that Salem was the school where white parents sent their child/ren to have no contact with black students and/or teachers. EC was where the remaining white students attended, who couldn’t afford private schools such as LMA, TSA,and Carolina Academy. Based on the comments of the majority of posts, It’s still the same ol’ division ( white against black).
    Some of these are based on a sense of entitlement and some just b/c they couldn’t imagine a black scholar who earned such a title because of her hard work and determination. Let’s just throw this out there… If your child was one of the 2 students would you just tell your child to accept “co” anything- if you say no, you are telling a real big one. Blessings to the plaintiff and family. #staystrong #Godisincontrol

  47. Comment by #Not my Valedictorian

    June 25, 2017 at 08:52

    You missed the whole point- she was not first – it has nothing to do with black or white. The only reason she was mistakenly named #1 was because 2 classes were left off of a transcript. Once this was was corrected- she was #2 – fair and square. Would you rather the mistake NOT be corrected so the wrong person could have received the title? And, if it were my child, I would have been gracious enough to realize the school had made a mistake but they corrected it the best way possible. I would NOT be sueing over human error bc that’s exactly what it was – a mistake. She lost no scholarship money and waited an entire year to take action. The whole lawsuit is completely ridiculous.

  48. Comment by Mistakes happen

    June 25, 2017 at 09:18

    What difference does it make whether she is black or white? EC has BOTH black and white scholars with “hard work and determination.” And, I guess I am telling a “big one” because I would NEVER encourage my child to sue the school or anyone else for that matter. The numbers don’t lie. Would you rather the plaintiff be given the title when her GPA was not the highest? How about the Real Valedictorian? Has anyone even considered how she and her family might be felling with all of this attention?

  49. Comment by Guidance Councelor

    June 25, 2017 at 09:44

    The whole black vs. white conspiracy is a joke. The guidance councelor is black and she has been named in the lawsuit. She is the one that printed off the transcripts and fixed the mistake once the transcripts were found to be incorrect.

  50. Comment by SMH

    June 26, 2017 at 00:07

    The comment about the white kids and private school struck a nerve. We are parents of 5 children and depending on the district we lived in, they either went to public school or we sacrificed and sent them to private school. While in private school, we lived in a smaller house, drive older small cars, checked out library books or movies, shopped with coupons and sales, and didn’t splurge on fancy clothes, manicures or pedicures. Satellite or cable, very few dinners out or vacations that didn’t involve a tent or cabin at a state park. We didn’t buy the latest video games or consoles for the kids, they didn’t get new or expensive cars, and definitely didn’t have smartphones. Their basic phones were for us to reach them, not for socializing. Believe it or not, they were just as popular., if not more than the “rich” kids and our house was where they all wanted to hang out.

    We didn’t send our kids to private schools to get away from black kids. We sent some of them to private high school to get an education that would give them free them from a lot of the negative influences in the local public schools. Yes, private schools also have negative influences but that is where being an involved parent payed off. The one thing that struck me with public vs private schools is this: Public schools were happy if a student showed up and didn’t sleep or cause problems in class. Private school had zero tolerance for behavior issues and the kids honesty competed for the highest GPA. When our youngest graduated high school, the difference in GPA’s of the VALEDICTORIAN and SALUTATORIAN (not co-valedictorians) was less than 0.675 of a point. Both worked their butts off and were proud of what they EARNED. Our youngest was actually kicked out of National Honor Society because his GPA
    fell. Were we upset, was he disappointed??? Absolutely, but HE earned it and learned that nothing was a given.

    Public vs. Private education isn’t necessarily about money as most private schools have need based scholarship programs for students that strive to do their best and behave appropriately. Also, sometimes the parents and the students have to forgo the “necessities” to get what is really necessary…a good education. Clearly when I read some of the comments, the entitled attitude rears it ugly head. If you care about your kids’ future…teach them the value of an education and not entitlement will garner success.

  51. Comment by #Truth for You

    June 26, 2017 at 15:16

    It’s funny how some of you folks are making it about the parents and our poor school district 3. And yes , some of you did send your kids to Salem to get away from the blacks. And by the way PhD . Flury Wilson and Reverend Darren Wilson, not so called. Let’s get your information straight!

    East Clarendon has always been unfair to minorities. But when you have an administraton put their by Nepotism, what the hell do you expect?
    This lawsuit is not about the Wilson’s needing district 3 to pay their bills. Get a life ! Best wishes to the family and their pursuit.

  52. Comment by #Truth for You

    June 26, 2017 at 15:20

    It’s funny how some of you folks are making it about the parents and our poor school district 3. And yes , some of you did send your kids to Salem to get away from the blacks. And by the way PhD . Flury Wilson or EDD; and Reverend Darren Wilson, not so called. Let’s get your information straight!

    East Clarendon has always been unfair to minorities. But when you have an administraton put there by Nepotism, what the hell do you expect?
    This lawsuit is not about the Wilson’s needing district 3 to pay their bills. Get a life ! Best wishes to the family and their pursuit.

  53. Comment by Remy

    June 26, 2017 at 17:09

    It don’t Matter if it’s about the money or not who cares she earned it#black lives matter#

  54. Comment by Earned nothing

    June 26, 2017 at 17:25

    #all lives matter

  55. Comment by Get your facts straight

    June 26, 2017 at 18:03

    Majority of these comments are based on rumors and assumptions. Grown individuals attacking and slandering an ambitious teenager. Shame on you. Get all the facts straight before trying to speak on something you know little about. Best wishes to Wilsons !

  56. Comment by Are you serious??

    June 26, 2017 at 21:28

    This is someone who must be living a miserable life to be doing something so ignorant. You should be proud of child regardless of what ” number” they are. I can’t believe that parents would go this far and embarras there children along with there community. If it’s money you are seeking then maybe both parents should find a better job. Also if I was the parent of the other child I would counter sue for using her picture without permission. From my understanding the valedictorian shared the spot light with Ms. Wilson and that shows who the bigger person is in this unfortunate situation. I feel so sorry for all involved. To be so petty. Really people.

  57. Comment by Here we go

    June 26, 2017 at 21:32

    Is this really gonna be a black/white issue. All lives Matter regardless. Good luck to both girls.

  58. Comment by Bishop J

    June 26, 2017 at 21:44

    Remy, isn’t blm our version of the KKK? If blm, why do you only come out when a thug gets popped by a white cop? If blm is in support of this young lady that tells me that she must be wrong. bam doesn’t represent or impress me, if you want our support or want to impress us, confront the black gangs that are killing our people.

  59. Comment by Hero

    June 26, 2017 at 21:52

    Bishop J you are my hero!

  60. Comment by Bishop J

    June 26, 2017 at 21:56

    just tired of the few making life hard for the many.

  61. Comment by Jaba

    June 27, 2017 at 13:04

    Let’s be honest. This lawsuit is not about a student not receiving the class rank she deserved. If that were the case, the State Board of Education could have aided in getting that corrected. It is simply a witch hunt to embarrass the school and cause them financial burden. And I guess any money gained by the Wilson’s would be a plus! I know the Wilson’s personally and I am VERY disappointed in them. I also know the school officials and most of the board members and they would never do what has been accused of them, especially in a malicious manner as stated. And pulling the race card is just pathetic.

  62. Comment by @ Jaba you sound stupid

    June 27, 2017 at 17:27

    Do you guys have anything better to do than speculate over rumors and false accusations? Get a life. I am very disappointed in this community. Smh .

  63. Comment by State Board

    June 29, 2017 at 06:42

    All grades were sent to the State Board of Education. The Wilson’s requested this and the results came back that Wilson was still number 2.


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