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GROW pulls mayor from graduation keynote

Givens refuses to cut Bible reference from remarks

Shafter Mayor Chad Givens was disinvited as GROW Academy's keynote graduation speaker last week, after he said he refused to remove a Bible reference from his remarks.

Despite being listed in the program for Thursday night's graduation, school officials announced at the event that Givens was "unable to attend."School officials had asked to see Givens' speech before the ceremony took place, the mayor said. The speech, according to Givens, contained a scripture from the Bible. He said a representative from the school asked him to remove the scripture, and when he refused, he was told that he would not be delivering the speech at the graduation. He said they told him ""that they were sorry but that they would not need him to speak at the graduation."

On Saturday, Givens said, "Simply put, I am not going to change who I am to conform to what they want."

Principal Lacie Harris would not not comment on the incident Monday morning, referring a reporter's inquiries to GROW Marketing Manager Kate Barton. Barton did not return a reporter's calls and email.

Givens said that he was told that he would not be speaking at the graduation, after

refusing to remove the scripture from his speech. Givens, who has two children attending

the school, said that they will be thinking about a change. "It this is their stance, and this is a problem with them and a position they want to take, then yes, we are absolutely questioning

our continuation with GROW."


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