Superintendent Suzanne Lukas and the police of Standish Maine need to loosen up a bit. Lukas barred Bonny Eagle High School senior Justin Denney from receiving a diploma because he waved at his family and blew a kis to his mother. It turns out that the school’s rather imposing mascot (left) was an accurate depiction of the school officials at the graduation.
Lukas and the local police were upset because the seniors were clowning around at the graduation with a couple of beach balls — a common appearance in large graduations. The solution? You take away the beach balls.
Local police made one student sit away from his classmates with staff while another student was escorted by police behind the stage. That seems a perfectly reasonable response. However, it quickly racketed up.
Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Chief Kevin Joyce said “The individual that was escorted off the stage was asked to leave the civic center. He was to the point where the deputy wanted to arrest the individual, but gave him several opportunities to settle down. Eventually, he took off his cap and gown and threw it at the deputy and walked out of the civic center.” He wanted to arrest him? Since when is excessive beachballing or clowning around a criminal offense?
Lukas appears to have been surprised when confronted by a large number of high school students at this graduation and reportedly stated “More people may not be graduating today if this continues.” That is when Denney made his outrageous wave and kiss to his mother. It was a shock for his grandparents who (while ill) came to see their grandson graduate — only to see him turned away.
There is now a petition to fire Lukas, here.
I have been through almost three decades of graduations and I have seen everything at these ceremonies, even with graduate students. There are rude people and students who tend to deprive such ceremonies of their special quality for other families. Yet, we have never seen the need to call out the local police and turn away a single student. It is certainly true that high school have a tougher time with high school kids than graduate schools. I do not criticize the officials for trying to impose decorum and proper conduct, but it seems that this went a bit too far when police are considering arrests and students are denied diplomas due to a bow or thrown kiss.
Of course, these parents may consider themselves fortunate. In South Carolina, people were arrested at a graduation for applauding too loudly.
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