Trainer Chad Brown returned to his hometown to speak at the Saturday morning graduation ceremony of Mechanicville High School in New York, but the top trainer didn't exactly get a hero's welcome.
A small group of students had expressed dismay when Brown was announced as the speaker at the ceremony, citing both ethical concerns about horse racing and about Brown's business operations in the wake of news he agreed to pay $1.6 million in back wages and fines related to labor violations. Negative comments from students and parents about the choice of Brown as speaker were deleted from the school district's Facebook page, according to The Daily Gazette. The newspaper reported that “a small handful” of students and parents left the auditorium during Brown's speech or turned their backs on him while remaining in the room.
The Daily Gazette's report also indicates that anti-racing group Horse Racing Wrongs reached out to students upset about the speaker choice and connected them with local media outlets, which reported on their sentiments about the selection of Brown.
Local media were turned away from covering the Mechanicville graduation after the reports, after Mechanicville interim superintendent Jon Hunter said the ceremony “is about the students and we will focus on the students.” (It is typical for local newspapers, including the Daily Gazette, to attend and report on graduation exercises of local high schools. The same paper was permitted at ten other ceremonies around the region in the month of June.)
Read more at The Daily Gazette
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