Skip to comments.School Relents, Gives Out Diplomas (Excessive Cheering Cited)
Posted on 06/07/2007 5:37:10 AM PDT by SkyPilot
Diploma Saga Takes Turn - Denied Students Lawyer Up
GALESBURG, Ill. (June 7) - Five students will get the diplomas they were denied when cheers erupted for them at a high school graduation, and school officials said Wednesday they would review a get-tough decorum policy.
The school imposed a no-cheering policy in an effort to restore decorum at its graduation ceremony.
Galesburg High School officials had said they would not hand over the keepsake diplomas unless they received apologies. But the stalemate over the diplomas and the media attention it attracted have taken valuable time and energy, they said.
Gayles listens to a question from a reporter Tuesday. An attorney took the students' case this week and threatened to sue the school district.
"It is time for the good of the community, the school district, the families and the students involved to move on," Superintendent Gene Denisar said in a written statement.
The diplomas were withheld because the school said cheering violated a school policy aimed at restoring graduation decorum. The students still were considered graduates on paper, but they didn't have a diploma.
Graduate Nadia Trent, second from right, said she's "just happy it's over." But she added, "it would have been better" if the school had apologized.
Graduate Nadia Trent, who picked up her diploma from the school secretary Wednesday afternoon, said she's "just happy it's over."
"If they would have apologized, it would have been better," said Trent.
Denisar cited talks with the Illinois State Board of Education, which has said it cannot support the district's decorum policy because it makes students responsible for behavior they cannot control, in explaining the decision.
The central Illinois school district about 150 miles southwest of Chicago will continue efforts to make commencement a "respectful and dignified occasion that all graduates and their families can enjoy," school board President Michael Panther said in statement. Officials did not say how they planned to review the no-cheer policy.
Peoria attorney Jeffrey Green, who took the students' case at no cost, sent a letter late Tuesday threatening to sue the district if officials did not apologize and deliver the diplomas by 5 p.m. Wednesday.
"They met with the families two or three times and had a chance to get this thing right," Green said. "I've been involved less than 24 hours, and now they have their diplomas, so you draw your own conclusions."
Parent Pam Kelley said she was disappointed that school officials did not apologize and that her daughter, Amanda, was handed the diploma by a high school secretary, not principal Tom Chiles.
"At least he could have come out and shook her hand and said congratulations," Kelley said.
There have been threads before on Free Republic - with those offering that the school is too stringent, while others argue they are only trying to keep the ceremony dignified and to help move it along and avoid excessive family cheering for one particular student that always draws nervous laughter and/or resentment from other parents and family.
I attended my daughters awards ceremony last night. The principal asked all parents and attendees to please hold their applause and cheers for groups of 12 that would come up on the stage. After 12 names were read and the students stood on stage for pictures, people were allowed to applaud and cheer all they wanted.
Three families deviated from this request - and were very disruptive with their shouts, screams, and whoops.
So far you can’t hear anything on stage from all the whooping, cheering and whistling. All the parents with kids in the productions try and sit as close as they can but it’s no use.
Yes it’s a public school. The little one is in private school and will remain there.
I didn’t understand this until I went to my son’s elementary graduation. The families compete to see who can make the loudest noise for the longest time. Naturally, if your child follows that noisy family’s child, you don’t get to hear their name announced.
We had the family next to us who talked the entire time. Add the special needs kid who screamed the entire time and I didn’t hear anything except for Aunt Soandso getting a new weave. I hear it’s a nice weave though but she paid too much for it.
‘”At least he could have come out and shook her hand and said congratulations,” Kelley said.’
I always do that when someone sues me. /s
It’s not enough she got her way, the principal also needs do bow down.
Ah, the wonders and joys of urban culture.
If you had paid closer attention in English class, Nadia, your grammar would be better.
"At least he could have come out and shook her hand and said congratulations."
If you had used correct grammar, Pam, he might have come out and shaken your hand and said congratulations."
Maybe they should have withheld the diplomas until the students learned correct grammar--and sent their mothers back for a few remedial classes.
"Officials did not say how they planned to review the no-cheer policy."
I would encourage the school board to cancel the ceremony and simply mail out the diplomas. Screw 'em. If people won't behave, why should the school district expose itself to potential lawsuits?
Well, let them cheer, let’s just not have any PRAYING, for God’s Sake. Makes a lot of sense what kids learn in 12 years in America.... Did they ever learn respect?
Oh I suppose it’s a bit undignified, but, on the other hand, the whooping and cheering can be fun and heartwarming. I’ve loved it when family and friends cheer wildly someone who’s the first in the family to get a certain degree. When my daughter graduated from medical school, the cheering from some of the families was wild and happy; I loved it. As for myself—I was so proud of my daughter that I was in tears, quieter and perhaps more dignified, but maybe it would have been better if I had whooped and cheered instead.
And anyway, it seems mean of the school officials to throw a wet blanket on such a happy occasion.
Give are children they’re diploma!
That and the obligatory ones about poor students not being allowed to attend the prom for one reason or the other. Really, I don't know how much suffering human beings can take. Auschwitz was bad, but if its victims had only known how bad things would be six decades later they would have thought themselves damned lucky!
My high school graduation 33 years ago was one of the most depressing events I have attend. It was held in an un-airconditioned building on a 95 deg. day. Kids were passing beer and other beverages around. By the time the ceremony was over, 2/3 of the graduates and their families had walked out. My daughters did not bother to attend theirs either. Their grade school graduation was a different story. Since it was from a Lutheran school, it was held in church, where everyone was more respectful.
If parents and children would learn that their word MEANS something, it would be better.
If a few selfish people didn't put their own selfish pleasure over the ability of others to hear their own children graduate, it would be better.
If the school would stand up to enforcing the rules everybody signed, it would be better.
If someone had just had a fog horn and blown it at these people when they stood up and screamed when they promised not to, that would have been better.
People think rules don't apply to them. And sure, if 295 people at a graduation FOLLOW the rules and hold their applause to the end, 5 people NOT following the rules isn't disruptive.
But if all 300 realised they could stand and scream and shout and disrupt when THEIR children walked across the stage, these selfish people who cheered might have gotten tired of sitting for 4 hours waiting THEIR turn to behave like idiots.
That's always the problem. If you let everybody do whatever they want, the most obnoxious people win, and everybody else loses.
As to "punishing kids for their parents", each year the school punishes kids if their parents don't sign stuff and return it at the beginning of the year. It's the only way to make sure parents do what they need to do.
I did disagree about one aspect of the punishment. They were going to give the kids diplomas if they did community service. Instead, they should have required the PARENTS who broke the rule to do the community service. Or better, to stand in front of the school with signs saying "I'm a selfish pig who disrupted my child's graduation ceremony".
The funny thing is that there are hundreds of other kids who now, a little bit, are let down that THEIR parents and friends didn't cheer THEM on when they walked the stage. These 5 people got a special cheer and honor that NO OTHER child was allowed to have. That's what is really not fair about this.
Interesting comment....maybe the schools should just yank commencement and mail the diplomas...let the parents hold their own ceremony....save the taxpayers $$$ too...
If the officials were serious about trying to maintain the dignity of the event, the principal (or whoever was officiating) should have stopped at the first one, addressed the student by name with something like "Joe Graduate, it is a sad that your family and/or friends are unable to understand the importance of your achievement and honor it with the respect that it deserves. I sincerely hope that you will continue to strive for worthy accomplishments in spite of their example." Perhaps the other families would have gotten the message and chosen not to disrupt the event and embarrass their students.
There were about 15 separate little performances and most people's children were represented in one or two.
Between each little performance, a slideshow of headshots of the children were displayed by projector on the stage backdrop to fill the time.
About half the kids had "cheering sections" - when a child's face appeared on the screen these morons would shout, scream and whistle.
Their child was backstage and was unaware when her picture may or may not have been randomly generated by the slideshow - it wasn't a misguided attempt at morale boosting: it was just obnoxiousness.
There was one particular assclown who showed up to the recital in a workshirt with the sleeves ripped off to reveal two full-sleeve tattoos on his arms. Whenever his kid came onstage he screamed at the top of his lungs, and as soon as his kid exited the stage he just got up and left, blocking other parents' views and blocking them again when he returned for his kid's next performance on the schedule.
This same piney joker got up and ran as soon as the finale was over.
On my way out to the parking lot with my family, everyone was honking in the circular drive in front of the auditorium. This same guy had run out early so he could pull up his truck and block the driveway for everyone - while he and his common law wife stood out by the door having a smoke, waiting for his kid to get changed into her streetclothes and emerge.
But only if they can demonstrate sufficient command of the English language to know the proper uses of the words "their", "there", and "they're".
What are you, some kind of racist?
And "are" and "our". :-)
"The article fails to mention that the reason this policy came about is that a graduation ceremony in 2005 was drowned out by whoops and hollers, setting off fights among spectators. Some parents complained they could not hear their child's name called."
Our once-marvelous nation continues to leave its Anglo-Saxon roots and become nothing better than a nation of classless, undignified third-worlders. My niece graduated from High School 7 years ago and I couldn't believe the din.
Most of it came from [ahem] the "lower-class" folks in the crowd. Like the ones in the example above.
There’s a lot of commotion at our tech college graduations, too. Yes, decorum probably would fit the occasion better. However, when families invest so much time, money and support in getting a family member through college, it’s so hard not to show that support as the graduate FINALLY walks across that stage! Especially older students that are grandmothers and grandfathers; by God, returning to school is NOT easy when you’re 50+ years old!
“Did they ever learn respect?”
That’s the problem. The word “respect” has been co-opted and distorted by certain groups. The respect you speak of hardly exists anymore. IMO, the fundamental problem that a large number of our society’s problems can be traced back to. “Show me respect” now means “be intimidated by me” or “bend over backwards to please me”.
A very good post that is dead on.
Would you be any less proud if you didn't have the backdrop of a graduation ceremony in which to whoop, holler and cheer?
Is it really the students' fault that people in the audience act like jerks? Of course, if the students themselves were being disruptive, by all means kick them out.
You've got that right. Everyone is a law unto themselves. I'll do what I want because I want too.
You concede that "decorum would be good," but then your logic doesn't follow.
If your family had scrimped and saved to afford dinner at the finest restaurant in town, would you then leave all your manners behind? Would you eat and behave like pigs, disturbing all the others in the restaurant?
There's no difference between the two scenarios. You're either respectful of others, or you aren't. Everyone else has sacrificed something to finish their education and obtain their degrees, why are you special?
When I was in grammar school, she started night school at the local community college. She and my father studied together. It had a fabulous effect on me. I overheard them discussing classics--Homer, Karl Marx--algebra, biology! It made me curious.
Years later, long after my father had died, she had only two courses yet to complete: chemistry and physics. She had no mind for science or math and was terrified that she could pass them. In fact, she flunked physics her first time through it.
I told her not to worry. I had studied physics and chemistry in high school; so I told her that the summer after I graduated from high school she and I would enroll together in college and that I would get her through them.
We did. We got an apartment in a distant college town (the local community college was only two years). Every night, just as my father had done, I would read a paragraph; then explain it to her.
She passed. She FINALLY graduated from college. She was thrilled.
Her mother and father were both college graduates, and she felt it a disgrace that she was not. Now she was!
I don't remember cheering. In fact I don't remember the ceremony. I think I was too exhausted myself. And, after a summer with Mom, I was ready for friends of my own.
Personally, I was very happy to have my family attend my graduation, and they remained silent as I walked across the stage. Which is how I preferred it myself.
No one is more special than another. I just can’t bring myself to get bent out of shape over this.
That’s wonderful! It’s a HUGE sense of accomplishment! Way to go for being there for her and way to go that she followed through and finished! :o)
The question is about decorum, and following rules to show respect for others.
When would you be upset? Would you be upset if cheering was so loud, you couldn't hear you child's name being read? What if the cheering family ran up to the podium and gave high-fives to graduate? What if the graduate broke out in a break-dance move, and prevented others from getting access to the presentation area? What if so many families cheered as their students received their diplomas, a one-hour ceremony was turned into three or four?
You can't rationalize rude behavior.
The school nazis finally lost this one, after showing how dictatorial they are.
Maybe not, but you know, right now I have more serious issues to deal with. So I’ll leave all this to folks like you.
I have boy/girl twins, who are just finishing 9th grade. Last year, I drew the straw to go to my son’s 8th grade “graduation.” He was in a gifted program, operated within a “general population” school. Graduation was combined for all 8th graders at the school. Sadly, for many in the “general population” this was the last graduation they would ever attend— until their children reached 8th grade. I almost could understand their whooping and hollering (almost). It was a clear display of no class by these kids’ families, many of whose father or uncles actually made it to the ceremony.
By the way, this was not a black phenomenon. Many white kids’ families reacted loudly as well, and my son’s black classmates’ families clapped in a dignified manner. I suspect, deep down, those kids with loud parents were embarrassed— I certainly hope so. I just shook my head.
My daughter’s 8th grade graduation was much more dignified, I am told, but the demographics there are much different.
My daughter’s graduation from UMSL was the same...like a WWE wrestling match.
I noticed several dads appeared to be inebriated which could have explained their enthusiasm. They may have thought they were at a NASCAR race or something.
Show me respect now means be intimidated by me or bend over backwards to please me.
Bend over backwards, not to mention bend over...forwards......
I agree, they should have used bricks.
Nah, if they were really nazis they would have taken hostages and shot them in reprisal after the untermenschen misbehaved.
Agreed. Mail em out & save the money.
I don’t think anyone disagrees with you but the issue is when and where. The noisy, raucous celebration should happen during the toasts at the celebratory dinner; or at home with all the friends and relatives; or in the parking lot. Cheering, shouting, shaking behinds, and standing up during the ceremony — for seconds, but sometimes minutes — is undignified.
There is a reason that graduates wear robes and mortarboards. There is a reason for a ceremony with diplomas. If graduation was just a party, with each “team” having a chance to make the loudest noise, then dispense with all the other trappings of ceremony. Just make it a party in the park, everyone wear t-shirts and shorts, and announce Junior’s name over a microphone.
I can’t cite statistics but I expect that the families of the valedictorians and honors students don’t go into cheering histrionics.
Consider for a minute a political debate. Audiences are allowed polite applause after answers. If the “sides” were allowed to wildly cheer their candidate after a good answer, we would cease to have a debate and would have nothing more than a shouting match.
There are lots of other examples:
* When a child gets his first Bible in church. Should his family cheer like wild animals?
* When a teenager wins a chess match.
* When a new pastor delivers his first sermon.
Keep wild cheering at the athletic events or, if you wish, for private time. Don’t ruin the beauty and ceremony of a dignified event.
“Dont ruin the beauty and ceremony of a dignified event.”
A good post. I’m alarmed at the number of people who would not recognize class, dignity and respect for others if it slapped them in the face.