Father barred from daughter's graduation

Darryl Fulton pickets outside Garner Middle School

June 8, 2010 9:00:00 PM PDT
A Wake County father spent the morning picketing outside of his daughter's middle school instead of attending her 8th grade graduation.

Darryl Fulton told ABC11 Eyewitness News he was barred from attending his 14-year-old's graduation Wednesday at East Garner Middle School.

"The Principal barred me from coming," Fulton told ABC11. "She trespassed me, based on an incident that occurred Friday."

Fulton said he was kept away unfairly, but the school disagrees.

According to Fulton he showed up late to pick up his daughter from an 8th grade dance. She took heat from the principal for her father's tardiness. He says he was late picking up his daughter because his car broke down, so his pastor drove him to the school.

Fulton says once he arrived at the school, he and the principal exchanged words.

"She said, 'I have other places to go and things to do'," Fulton recalled. "I told her I didn't appreciate her, an educated woman, a principal, verbally chastising my daughter who's only 14 years old."

A spokesperson for Wake Schools says that's not true -- the principal asked a group of students where their parents were. According to the school, Fulton was 45 minutes late and the confrontation was so heated that a police officer had to step between the father and the Principal.

"I know her and I respect her," parent Paula Williams said. "She's very honest and laid back, and it just surprised me to see that!"

Williams said she's offended by Fulton's sign, linking the Principal to intolerance.

"I don't know what his mission is, his purpose, but it affects everybody in our school when somebody makes a stand like that," said parent Paula Williams.

Fulton said he apologizes. "I don't want to offend anybody. Tell them that I love them, I'm a man of God!"

He also insists that he's trying to change.

"The power that damaged a child's mind, because of her actions," Fulton added.

Wake School released the following statement Wednesday in response to the incident.

On Friday, June 4th, following a dance around 10 p.m. Ms. Fulton was a member of a group of students who were approached by the East Garner Middle School Principal and asked whether or not they had transportation home, or needed to use a phone.

At approximately 10:45, 45 minutes after the dance ended and parents were expected to pick up students, Mr. Fulton arrived at the dance to pick up his daughter and began a confrontation with the school's Principal which was witnessed by staff members, other students and the School Resource Officer. The aggressive behavior of Mr. Fulton towards the Principal required the SRO to intervene. The security department of the Wake County Public School System was contacted and interviewed witnesses, both staff and students, on Monday, June 7. Witness accounts validated the confrontational behavior on the part of the parent and student and therefore, the decision was made to trespass Mr. Fulton from the school's campus for the remainder of the year. Mr. Fulton was contacted by the WCPSS Security Department informing him of the decision and a letter was also sent notifying him of the decision.

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