Updated: Jan 19, 2019
In the months following Woody Harrelson's first visit, Simpsonville Elementary School had adopted a new visitors policy for “controversial” topics, requiring an advanced approval by school administration and written consent by students' parents before presentations. This policy was put to use when, during the next school year, when Donna Cockrel informed the school Principal that Harrelson would be making a second visit to her classroom to once again discuss industrial hemp. Cockrel met all of the requirements of the new visitors policy, providing advanced notice to the school Principal and obtaining permission from the parents of her students for their children to attend the presentation.
The principal did not attempt to discourage her from having another class presentation on hemp, nor did he tell her that Harrelson should not be invited back to the school. According to Donna Cockrel, Shelby County School Superintendent told her earlier in the school year, that it would not be in her best interests if Harrelson made any more visits to her class. While Harrelson was unable to attend on the day of his scheduled visit, a small group of parents, unaware that Harrelson was not coming, went to the school and “loudly voiced their objections” to a second visit.
Click the links below to learn more about the Harrelson and Cockrel trials:
January 24, 1997, Lexington Herald-Leader
January 23, 1997, The Hour