Punishment for racial slur tweet modified after 'change of heart'

Punishment for racial slur tweet modified after 'change of heart'

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - It's a popular phrase, 'rules are meant to be broken.' However, Charleston one school board member in Charleston County seems to be trying to coin a new phrase. This one saying 'rules are meant to be broken by the people who make them.'

"They said they were going to do one thing and they totally did something else," said Imani Herring. " I don't know who to believe anymore."

Herring is the student who found herself on the receiving end of a threatening tweet that included a racial slur by a white classmate in March.

The case went in front of a constituent board two months later.

The constituent board decision of strict probation was appealed and was taken before CCSD school board members in the following weeks.

In a 4 to 1 vote last Wednesday, the school board upheld the constituent board ruling.

"Initially it was 20 hours of community service and no extracurricular activities," said school board member Michael Miller.

Miller says extracurricular included prom and walking at graduation.

But the girl who pressed send on the tweet, Ashley Patrick, went to prom Saturday.

"My principal pulled me to the side and said 'Imani, I didn't realize she was allowed to come to prom we just recently got note of this," said Herring.

The School of the Arts junior says she was shocked to see Patrick walk in to prom.

The news also surprised Miller, who says the decision to change the ruling was made by Craig Ascue.

"Mr. Ascue, who was the chair of that hearing, I believe, had a change of heart and wanted to do what he felt was in the best interest of Mrs. Patrick. He informed her she could attend her prom," said Miller. "He did that without the consent or confirming with the other board members."

Live 5 News was at the school board hearing last Wednesday where Ascue can be heard telling Patrick's attorney "no" to prom.

"Can we get clarification on this strict probation before... Can she attend prom?" asked Green.

Ascue replied "No" three times while shaking his head.

"I just felt irritated, overlooked," said Herring. "I felt like they really didn't find my situation to be that important or that relevant."

Ascue declined to comment when we asked for his side of the story Tuesday afternoon.

Right now the Charleston County school board is looking into whether Patrick will be allowed to walk at her graduation.

The girl's attorney is confident she will.

In a statement sent to Live 5 News, Dwayne Green said "missing prom and graduation were never part of the intended punishment. We have been told that she will be allowed to graduate with her class as well."

"We are very thankful to the school board for clarifying this ruling."

CCSD decided last week Patrick will be required to perform 20 hours of community service and write a 500 word paper on racism and its effects on social media.

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