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Controversial North Port principal allowed to participate in grad ceremony | People

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Controversial North Port principal allowed to participate in grad ceremony
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Controversial North Port principal allowed to participate in grad ceremony

Sarasota County School District Superintendent Lori White announced Friday (May 27) that North Port High School Principal George Kenney will be allowed to participate in the school’s graduation ceremony on June 4. Kenney is on administrative leave pending the completion of an investigation into his alleged use of unauthorized counseling methods.

White said she decided to allow Kenney to participate in the ceremony because many seniors had expressed deep disappointment that they would not be able to shake their principal’s hand after their four years under his leadership. Kenney has been praised by students for his sensitivity in guiding the school through a very emotional year in which a teacher and three students died.

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White said the students have been very respectful and mature in their expressions of support for Kenney. Those expressions included a meeting where students presented her petitions that hundreds of students had signed requesting that Kenney be allowed to participate in graduation.

She said she could not justify diminishing the students’ celebration of their crowning high school experience because of an unresolved professional issue with their principal. “It would not be fair to deprive students of an important part of their graduation ceremony because of something beyond their control,” she said.

White met with students at NPHS Friday morning to tell them personally of her decision. She encouraged them to use their graduation as a time to reflect on how close they have become and to celebrate their accomplishments.

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