ATTLEBORO, Mass (WPRI) – Mayor Kevin Dumas attended graduation Friday, despite his presence being unwanted by some students.
Students are unhappy with the mayor, because of a decision to lay off dozens of employees, because of budget cuts.
Seniors at Attleboro High voted in an informal online poll to disinvite Mayor Kevin Dumas from his annual speaking role at graduation.
With the city facing a $1.3 million budget shortfall, plans are in place to lay off up to 36 teachers and 10 staff members.
The class salutatorian was the only one to mention the controversial cuts in his address.
“To all of the teachers in the Attleboro Public School system, especially those who may or may not be getting laid off, all of you teachers are significant to us, and we wish you the best.” said Kevin Saechew in his speech.
Despite 66 out of 110 votes cast in the poll being in favor of rescinding the mayor’s invitation, Dumas attended anyway, and took the podium to applause.
Mayor Dumas used his time at on stage to encourage students to make bold choices, whether they’re popular decisions or not, saying “Ultimately, all of your choices will be yours. So graduates, choose wisely, certainly seek the advice of others and do your research, for in the end, when your decision is made, stand by it.”
Eyewitness News reached out to Dumas for comment, but he has not returned our calls or messages.
Dumas has been mayor of Attleboro since 2003 and is up for re-election this fall.