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Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Letter To the Editor: Train Up a Child In the Way They Should Go

The Bible tells us in Proverbs to “train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Also we know what the road of “good” intentions can lead to.

What happened at Pickens Middle School is unacceptable. Training children to think it is appropriate to separate them by race for special presentations and lunches violates not only the Bible's advice but also Civil Rights under Title VI and the 14th amendment.

A policy needs to be put in place ASAP to prevent this type of ill advised event from ever happening again. I suggest that going forward the approval for any event or speaker on our campuses that influence children's training be approved ahead of time by this board. That way we will know WHO to hold accountable at the voting booth.

The fact that ANYONE employed by the School District thought that segregating students by their race for a special presentation and lunch while leaving white students out was a good idea is horrendous. It points to our School District joining the “woke” culture of Critical Race Theory.

And when I watched the YouTube video Ms. Young presented on what she was going to say, I was horrified that she was praising Socialist Representative AOC as someone she admired and loved. A speaker using their position of authority to promote political influence in a situation where children are forced to watch is wrong.

WHO do we the taxpayers blame for this catastrophe? Just the Principal? I think not. I have a hard time believing he alone planned this event. Someone else in the Administration must have given him the green light. And all parties involved that knew and did nothing to prevent it should face consequences.

Johnnelle Raines

Pickens, SC

Monday, April 25, 2022

May 2022 Conservatives of the Upstate Newsletter

Lots of important meetings and opportunities lie ahead for all of us as we try to keep Pickens County SC the most Conservative County in SC!  Below I am updating you on issues and dates and information that I think are very important for your edification!

1. Are you registered to vote? You better be!  To be able to vote in the June 14th Primary you must be registered to vote by May 13th by 5 PM. You can register online here: Online Voter Registration ( Make sure your family, friends and neighbors are registered!

2. Confused about the new redistricting and you aren't sure which district you are in now? Here is a link that will help people know which's kind of not user friendly as I'd like it to be but feel free to use the link below to the Pickens County Election District web mapping app.  It allows the user to type in their address to see which districts they reside in now that the redistricting process has been completed (House, Senate, Council, etc).  

3. The NEXT most important meeting that WE ALL NEED to be in attendance at is happening at the School Board meeting on Thursday, April 28th at 5:15 PM. If you haven't heard about the fiasco at Pickens Middle School and why we ALL need to be there and cause our School Board to SIT UP AND PAY ATTENTION is an article Johnnelle wrote about it:   Even if you don't speak during public forum at this meeting on the 28th...we need bodies there...NUMBERS MATTER...APPLAUSE MATTERS The meeting will be held at 1348 Griffin Mill Rd, Easley SC 29640. sign up to speak when you get there. Call Roseanne Morris to make sure the meeting hasn't been changed...@ 864-397-1029

4. Go to this link to see the Pickens County GOP meet the candidates' events scheduled in the days ahead before the Primary that give you an opportunity to vet the candidates:

5. Go to this link to see the Auxiliary Club of SCGOP events that are lined up to give you an opportunity to vet the candidates before June 14th 

6. The next County Council meeting is to be held on May 2 at 6:30 PM at the Administrative Auditorium located 222 McDaniel Avenue, Pickens SC 29671. It is our understanding their is discussion going on to raise our millage tax on property to replace the plan that fell through to tax us according to square footage. We don't know anything else about this. Please call your councilman and ask them to explain what this millage increase will mean. And be prepared to voice your concerns at this meeting on May 2nd during the public forum. If you need more than 3 minutes to say what you want to say, please let Kathleen Campbell know and we will try to arrange for someone to finish your speech where you leave off. Here's the link to how to contact your county councilman.

7. Monday, May 16th at 7PM our group is sponsoring a Public Forum/Debate between challenger Matthew Kutilek and Rep. Davey Hiott at Cafe' Connections. We think this is the best opportunity for you to vet these candidates as you will get to hear their answers to the same questions. Be prepared to ask your tough questions. Bring your neighbors, you won't want to miss this one!

8. May 3rd the Board of Elections will be meeting at 4:30 pm in the Administrative Auditorium where the county council meets. Please remember they need poll workers. Go to this link for more information :
Or call 864-898-5948

9.  Conservatives of the Upstate cannot endorse candidates as a group. However, Johnnelle Raines has her own personal favorites that she has vetted and will gladly send those to you if you want to see her personal favorites. She stresses this is just her personal opinions and wants you to vote your own conscience and pray for discernment and not rely on her opinions. Just email her at: if you want her list of personal endorsements.

10. We are sending two pledges to all candidates to see if they will sign. One is a Protect Our Property Rights Pledge and the other is a Pledge to Not raise our taxes if elected. And in the days ahead we will be letting you know which candidates have signed them.

11. Prayer Matters!  You will have several opportunities to come together with Praying in Pickens to Pray before this election. We pray every Saturday Morning at 9:30 AM at the Courthouse in downtown Pickens and a special National Day of Prayer will be held at the Courthouse in downtown Pickens on Thursday morning May 5th at 9:30 AM. Please join us!  We also meet and pray every Thursday morning at Cafe' Connections at 8:30 AM.

12. Our member and Candidate for County Council, Chris Lollis needs help door knocking in the Six Mile/Central area...and needs contributions too for yard signs and door hangers...if you feel led to help him, I'm sure he'd very much appreciate it. Here's his phone number: 864-979-0321. Please remember all the candidates running would appreciate any help you can give them. 

***********Please let us know anything you are concerned about or need help with! Respond to this email or call Johnnelle @ 704-860-0648 or call Kathleen Campbell @ 864-586-0857********

Your Leadership Team and Advisory Board COTU,

Johnnelle Raines, Jo Ann Brewer, Travis Garner, Kathleen Campbell, Luke Campbell, Chris Lollis, Anselm Salins, John Fezio, Debbie Hudson, Ross Whitley, Kim Frazor, Lori and Mark Osborn 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Pickens Middle School's Plan to Spark Unity Gone Bad

Sometimes good intentions which are not thought out properly can go bad.

Such is the case of a situation that arose at Pickens Middle School where the administration thought they were doing something good on how to address a situation of racial tensions but ultimately did not think about the consequences of segregating students. 

Shouldn't our School District of Pickens County's lawyer have been consulted about their plan?

Under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964Discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance are prohibited.

President John F. Kennedy said in 1963:

Simple justice requires that public funds, to which all taxpayers of all races [colors, and national origins] contribute, not be spent in any fashion which encourages, entrenches, subsidizes or results in racial [color or national origin] discrimination.

The Principal of Pickens Middle School as well as the School Board and District Administration is now having to deal with backlash over his plan.

This whole controversial situation went viral on a Facebook page which ended up having over 1K comments. You can view those comments at this link: 


Below is an email which was sent by a concerned citizen to SC Attorney General Alan Wilson which explains why there is such controversy over what was planned. But please note NOT ALL PARENTS received prior notification of the special lunch arrangements or the fact a speaker was going to address the racial tensions. Many white students weren't aware of the special lunch date with the speaker until the students of color bragged about receiving the special invitation. 

Dear Attorney General:


It has been brought to my attention that during the week of April 11th 2022 the Pickens Middle School in Pickens, South Carolina planned and conducted a series of presentations by a guest speaker in which the school segregated students by skin color. The students were given special lunch sessions and divided into the following groups: "African-American," "Hispanic," and "Two or More Backgrounds." Students who did not fall into these categories, such as white, Asian, and others, were not invited and were excluded from these special presentations and lunch meals. This appears to be a direct violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title VI, which prohibits excluding individuals from programs or activities on the grounds of race, color, or national origin by entities receiving Federal financial assistance.


According to letters and emails from the school Principal, Mr. James King, the segregation of students by race was intentional to allow the guest speaker, Ms. Adrienne Young, "a chance to talk with students about how to cope with being a student in a predominantly white school." Setting aside how this is highly inappropriate and just plain racist, a glaring irony must have eluded the school’s leadership and the guest speaker in that the subject of her talk was "unity at schools."


Please see the attached email and letter received by the school’s parents indicating specific lunch times their students were assigned:


The “dynamic speaker,” Ms. Young, is a counselor at Banks Trail Middle School in Fort Mill and describes herself on her LinkedIn account as an “influencer…impacting the lives of middle schoolers.” Is segregating and excluding students by race and teaching them how to “cope with” white students the kind of influence and impact the SC Department of Education is advancing?  Ms. Spearman (copied here), as the Superintendent of Education, would you kindly provide a response with your position on this? Would you also please reconcile how such presentations Ms. Young is conducting fits with your statements that Critical Race Theory is not taught in SC schools?





Mr. Wilson, would you please review and investigate this incident, as well as similar presentations given by Ms. Young at other school campuses as alluded to by Mr. King in his letter, and pursue all appropriate legal action as it merits under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and specifically regulation 34 C.F.R. §§ I00.3(a), I00.3(b)(l), and nondiscriminatory statutes of the SC Human Affairs Law? For reference, I am attaching a determination issued by the US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights in a similar case where a school segregated students and staff by race into “affinity groups” during race trainings and programs. The parents and students of Pickens Middle School are -- quite justifiably – very upset with this and would have legal standing in court.


Thank you for your attention to this matter. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.




Name removed due to privacy concerns

For your information, the video of Adrienne Young's speech she prepared has since been removed and no longer available for parents or taxpayers to view.

Luckily, several of our Conservatives of the Upstate members were able to view the video before it was taken down. The ones who watched were shocked when she took the opportunity to express her personal political view of "loving" Rep. Alexandra Orcasio-Cortez" who is well known for her love of Socialism and wanting to transform our Constitutional Republic.

Speakers who are hired to have influence and inspire young students whose minds are very malleable during the middle school years should not project their personal political leanings one way or the other

It will be interesting to see just how many parents show up at the next School District of Pickens County's Board meeting who are concerned about the choices this Principal at Pickens Middle School made, especially not alerting ALL parents to his plan ahead of time.

If you wish to attend and make your concerns known during public forum time, the next School Board Meeting of Pickens County is Thursday, April 28th beginning at 5:15 PM. 
The meeting takes place in the Board Room located at 1348 Griffin Mill Road, Easley, SC, 29640.

For more information about this SDPC Board meeting you can call:

 Rosanne Morris at 864-397-1029 or by email at

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Thursday, April 21, 2022 COTU Monthly Meeting

Our next Conservatives of the Upstate meeting will take place on Thursday, April 21, 2022, at 7 PM. The venue is Cafe' Connections located at 319 E. Main Street in downtown Pickens, SC, 29671.

Our featured guest speaker will be candidate Thomas Beach who is running for House District 10 against incumbent Rep. West Cox. District 10 has been changed recently to include more of Pickens County citizens as a result of the redistricting that took place. So let's vet him and find out if he's a candidate you should support on Primary Day, June 14, 2022.

Candidate Thomas Beach

We also will have a couple of other candidates who want to have about 3 minutes to introduce themselves to you and share why they think you should consider voting for them.

And we have several political concerns that need to be addressed and discussed. There will be reports from our members who attended Pickens County Council meetings, Election Board Meetings, Planning Commission Meetings, School Board Meetings, and Library Board Meetings. 

These meetings are crucial for our citizens to be able to MAKE A DIFFERENCE in holding our elected and our appointed people accountable to WE THE PEOPLE.

Please mark your calendar now for our next meeting to be held on Thursday, April 21 at 7 PM, Cafe' Connections, 319 E. Main St, Pickens, SC. 

Bring a family member, a friend, a neighbor, a church member that are like minded Christian Conservatives! 


Numbers matter!