Retiring Willard superintendent is suspended after praying at graduation

 Kent Medin, Willard School District superintendent
Kent Medin, Willard School District superintendent (KSPR)
Published: Jun. 6, 2017 at 2:54 PM CDT
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The leader of the Willard School District won't get to work in his final month before he retires because of his speech at the high school graduation ceremony in May.

The Willard School Board says Superintendent Kent Medlin violated a district policy by saying a prayer at a school-sponsored event. The superintendent had to pack up and leave his office, just weeks before his retirement on June 30. In a statement, the school board says it made that decision because that prayer violated school policy.

The board says Medlin will be on paid leave until the end of the month. So far he has not returned a reporter's calls to comment about his remarks.

Students say he cited his savior, quoted the Bible and prayed. One parent says it sounded more like a church sermon. Students protested the speech, calling it offensive.

The school board would not comment on why it made the decision now, other than citing the school's policy.

Board's statement:

At a special meeting of the Willard School Board of Education held on May 26, 2017, the board placed Superintendent Dr. Kent Medlin on a paid leave of absence. The leave will continue through June 30, 2017 when Dr. Medlin's contract expires. 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.

The board has selected Assistant Superintendent Dr. Stewart Pratt as the Interim Superintendent until July 1, 2017. Dr. Pratt will represent the district at all district activities during this period. The district’s new Superintendent, Dr. Matt Teeter, will assume his duties July 1. All district activities are continuing as planned including summer school, school construction projects and preparation for 2017-2018 school year.

The Board wishes to express gratitude for the understanding and support of the Willard community.

End of board's statement