16 June 2009

Outright Ridiculous

So, Justin Denney, a senior at Bonny Eagle High School in Standish, ME, walks across the stage to receive his diploma and in the process turns to the crowd, bows, and blows his family a kiss... What a pleasant honor to his family who has supported him through to this rite of passage.

The superintendent sent him back to his seat without his diploma. He has not officially graduated.

So, who's really "acting up" or "showboating" here? I say it is the school administrators. According to multiple published reports, other students had inflated beach balls and were bouncing it around. That would be disruptive for a graduation ceremony. Thus, those students were separated and also did not receive diplomas. However, bowing to your family and blowing them a kiss is not disruptive. It's not showboating. It's respect.

But when you have administrators threaten kids with arrest and have police, in essence, detain kids separate from others, school officials have gone way past what's acceptable. You see, many of these people are not educators. They are control-freaks. They can't see past their own little fiefdoms. If this young man had done a cartwheel or stripped off his gown for a t-shirt with some crazy message, I can understand that it may meet with some consternation from school officials and reprimands would be in order. However, this is simply an out of control administrator who has not, will not, and likely cannot fathom relinquishing even the slightest bit of control over these students. For them, it is a clear lack of respect.

When the educational system focuses this much on controlling graduation celebrations and non-classroom related behavior (especially when their own parents are in attendance) rather than holding teachers accountable, ensuring students are learning and passing (as this young man clearly did), it may need to be completely scrapped and started over. When you read an article that indicates that "No arrests were made" at a graduation, and that refers to the students, something is beyond wrong.

Graduation is a time to celebrate and release some of that pent up anxiety. It's high school. They're kids. It's been happening for decades. They need to lighten up and just go with the flow sometimes. Heck, it only happens once a year!

I'm not certain whether this superintendent is elected or appointed, but either way, she should be fired. This is outright ridiculous and the parents of this child are right to demand an apology and the ability to have their son honored just as he was honoring them.


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