WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – New Hanover County Commissioner Skip Watkins defended comments he made at a Trask Middle School eighth grade graduation on Thursday.
Parents had mixed reactions to a video posted to social media that showed Watkins speaking to students about avoiding premarital sex and drug use.
Watkins said he never meant to offend anyone.
“It was only my intention to help prepare our youth for a major change in their life,” Watkins said.
Watkins also said he didn’t mean to cross a line with parents when he said students could call him if they wanted advice.
“Young people sometimes need a place of confidence,” he said. “Someone they can speak to that is not judgmental, and I would not judge them. I would try and help them find the resources they needed.”
Kelley Alhers posted the video to Facebook that got lots of reaction from parents. She thought Watkins’ speech went too far.
“I do not want my child to call anyone with something that they can’t speak to me or one of their school counselors about,” Alhers said.
Watkins said he thinks the video doesn’t give the entire picture of his speech.
“The rest of the video, if people were able to see it, would see how I edified them and how I congratulated them,” he said. “I look forward to them graduating high school in four years.”
However, Alhers said her first impression of Watkins left a bad taste in her mouth.
“This was my one glimpse that I saw of him,” she said. “I hope that in the future, I will see him in public life being more appropriate.”
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