Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Graduation Goofs

'Tis the season for high school graduations.  The time when parents everywhere can finally sit back and heave a deep sigh of relief that the offspring has made it at least this far in the educational process.  A time of joy.  A time of pride.  A time to celebrate.

Wait...  not so fast!

In some areas it has apparently become not only frowned upon to cheer loudly and proudly for Junior or Junior-ette at graduation - it is an actual crime! 

In Florence, South Carolina, mother Shannon Cooper was arrested for disorderly conduct because she cheered at her daughter's graduation ceremony.  Parents had been warned by school officials that they would be thrown out of the ceremony being held at Florence Civic Center  if they cheered for the graduates.  Cooper did it anyway.  In a news interview she stated, "I got up and I said 'yay my baby made it! Yes!' Just a regular cheer."

Police didn't see it that way. Cooper was put in handcuffs and led outside to a waiting police van. She says she was then kept in jail for several hours until she could pay the $225 fine. 

In Ohio, it's not the parents that pay for being over-enthusiastic but the high school graduate himself.  Thanks to his family's exuberance, Anthony Cornist did not receive his diploma upon graduating from Mt. Healthy Senior High School.  Instead he received a letter from the principal stating that due to the "excessive cheering during the ceremony" they would require 20 hours of community service (to be completed by Anthony, or to be split between Anthony and the offending family members) before he could receive his diploma.

Really?  Is this what it's come to?  Parents are no longer allowed to cheer and celebrate as their offspring finally cross that stage.  They can be arrested, or sentenced to community service for letting the world know how excited they are to see this day finally come.  Anyone who has raised a child knows how much joy and pride wells up inside you as that child finally passes that milestone of life called High School Graduation.  It's a shame that schools feel obliged to punish them, or the student, for demonstrating those feelings. 

Sure, sometimes it's a little over the top.  It can be loud.  It can be raucous.  But if after 17 or 18 years of sleepless nights, worry, and who knows how many dollars - can't a parent can't embarrass their child a little bit?  I think it's an earned right!

Despite what this blogger views as over reactions by school officials to some well intentioned, joyous displays of pride and excitement, perhaps those parents and students are still the fortunate ones. At least those parents were able to hear their son or daughter's name called, and see them walk across the stage.  In Haywood County, North Carolina, some parents didn't get that experience. 

When a joint graduation for Haywood Central High and the Alternative Learning Center was held at the Canton Colonial Theater, too many people showed up.  Because of fire code regulations, several parents were forced to leave the theatre, and miss the graduation ceremony of their children.  Of course, school officials had a quick fix.  They will provide DVDs of the ceremony to all parents.  Because that will make up for missing the opportunity to see their child's graduation first hand.  A DVD is just as good as being there, right? 

So, the next time you attend a graduation (if you are lucky enough to get inside and be given a seat) - remember to sit quietly, with  your hands in your lap.  And maybe, just maybe, the school will allow a nice polite golf clap at the end of the ceremony.

Otherwise, you might be facing some jail time, or the very least community service.



  1. I have read about this woman in the news. I attended a graduation where someone stood and screamed for her daughter and kept screaming the entire time she walked across the stage and then down the aisle and we couldn't HEAR our family member's name read. She just wouldn't stop. I then went to my nieces dance recital last week and I had a father STAND UP with a video camera in front of me, and I asked for him to sit as my niece was in that group and I couldn't see. NOPE he said. Can you image? He couldn't go to the aisle and film? It seems like people take things to EXTREMES now. Screaming on cellphones IN CHURCH during my nephew's baptism! "Hi, how are you? I am in church" etc.. When did you have to legislate manners in church? Now, you do. The priest had to tell everyone to stop talking on their phones and turn off the video games! It is the few bad eggs that cause the craziness now. Most know how to conduct themselves.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experiences and opinions. While I can't accept arresting parents or punishing the kids for people being loud about celebrating over a graduation - I also feel there is no reason to be rude or not take others who are also celebrating into consideration. OR for using your cell phone during a ceremony or in church!!


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