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  1. #1
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    Ill. students lose diplomas over cheers

    Caisha Gayles graduated with honors last month, but she is still waiting for her diploma. The reason: the whoops of joy from the audience as she crossed the stage.

    Gayles was one of five students denied diplomas from the lone public high school in Galesburg after enthusiastic friends or family members cheered for them during commencement.

    About a month before the May 27 ceremony, Galesburg High students and their parents had to sign a contract promising to act in dignified way. Violators were warned they could be denied their diplomas and barred from the after-graduation party.

    Many schools across the country ask spectators to hold applause and cheers until the end of graduation. But few of them enforce the policy with what some in Galesburg say are strong-arm tactics.

    "It was like one of the worst days of my life," said Gayles, who had a 3.4 grade-point average and officially graduated, but does not have the keepsake diploma to hang on her wall. "You walk across the stage and then you can't get your diploma because of other people cheering for you. It was devastating, actually."

    School officials in Galesburg, a working-class town of 34,000 that is still reeling from the 2004 shutdown of a 1,600-employee refrigerator factory, said the get-tough policy followed a 2005 commencement where hoots, hollers and even air horns drowned out much of the ceremony and nearly touched off fights in the audience when the unruly were asked to quiet down.

    "Lots of parents complained that they could not hear their own child's name called," said Joel Estes, Galesburg's assistant superintendent. "And I think that led us to saying we have to do something about this to restore some dignity and honor to the ceremony so that everyone can appreciate it and enjoy it."

    In Indianapolis, public school officials this year started kicking out parents and relatives who cheer. At one school, the superintendent interrupted last month's graduation to order police to remove a woman from the gymnasium.

    More at link, including the race issue:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070601/ap_on_re_us/graduation_decorum&printer=1


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  2. #2
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    Jun 2006
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    i agree with the girl at the end of the article. saying she couldnt control everyone at the event.
    the kids shouldnt be denied their diploma because of what the audience does. i dont know what the school can do about the troublemakers though in the audience. Maybe just keep throwing them out. but dont keep the diplomas from the kids. they worked 12 years for them.

  3. #3
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    May 2006
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    Agree--denying the kids diplomas is absurd--Its not their fault their relatives may have over-reacted--I did like the part about the air horns,though--that was funny--a bit over the top lol

  4. #4
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    How silly! One moment of one lifetime and it's that big of a deal?

    I'm so happy, pleased, excited and thrilled I never have to deal with public schools!

  5. #5
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    My stepdaughter graduated from Hoover High School in Alabama. They were basically threatened that if anyone cheered for them they would not get their diploma. She said that they were told more than once in a very threatening fashion. I thought that this was absolutely ridiculous. It is supposed to be a time of joy as it is a big accomplishment for both the child and their parents/friends!

    Of everything that the schools should be doing, this is not one, IMO.

    P.S. I cheered and felt like an idiot afterwards.

  6. #6
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    If they all knew the rules beforehand, why didn't they just comply? They knew the risk to their graduates and decided it was worth it, on behalf of their graduates of course. Nice relatives.
    I bet they will behave next time, which is what the school is trying to accomplish.
    Like I tell my kids, just because we think a rule is stupid, doesn't mean it doesn;t apply to us. If these people were making statement about being able to be rowdy, more power to them, but they knew their graduate would suffer as result.
    There are better ways to bring about change.

  7. #7
    I feel very badly for these kids. How are they supposed to control their family/friend's emotional outburst. What if mom or dad burst into loud sobs of tearful joy, would they deny the diploma over that. When you are choked up with emotion sometimes things just happen, I mean people laugh during funerals sometimes, it's not something they do to be cruel it's just an uncontrollable reaction to the stress and grief.

    My school dealt with cheering in a dignified manner. They let the parents/family cheer and paused until it was quiet enough to announce the next name so that everyone in the crowd could hear all the names. Yeah, maybe this adds 3-5 seconds time per student to the ceremony but after so many years I think these families should be able to celebrate their children's achievements.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBean View Post
    If they all knew the rules beforehand, why didn't they just comply? They knew the risk to their graduates and decided it was worth it, on behalf of their graduates of course. Nice relatives.
    I bet they will behave next time, which is what the school is trying to accomplish.
    Like I tell my kids, just because we think a rule is stupid, doesn't mean it doesn;t apply to us. If these people were making statement about being able to be rowdy, more power to them, but they knew their graduate would suffer as result.
    There are better ways to bring about change.
    I agree--especially since both the student and parents signed a contract! My stepdaughter's school did not have the kids or parents sign a contract. I know that, had I signed one, I wouldn't have made a peep.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by nanandjim View Post
    I agree--especially since both the student and parents signed a contract! My stepdaughter's school did not have the kids or parents sign a contract. I know that, had I signed one, I wouldn't have made a peep.
    Exactly! I would be peeved at my family if they did that to me or my child. What were they thinking if they signed a contract?! Why would they do that to their own friend or family member?!
    I mean have some self control for gosh sakes. I would start a movement to have it changed if it was unfair or unecessarily harsh. Got to set an example for these kids! Teach them how to bring about change the right way, not to just ignore what they have already agreed to. It's the mentality that all the rules apply, but just not to me. Just burns me!

    When my kids graduated, there were roughly 1000 students in each class. It makes for a very very long day, with each name being called. While each child would get varying degrees of cheers, people were generally quick about it and they could move along.

  10. #10
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    I don't know how you can control the actions of the audience!
    This is absurd and IMO illegal.

    What was the girl supposed to do? Turn around and scream, 'SHUT UP?'
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  11. #11
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    What a lucky school.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBean View Post
    ...When my kids graduated, there were roughly 1000 students in each class. It makes for a very very long day, with each name being called. While each child would get varying degrees of cheers, people were generally quick about it and they could move along.
    This is apparently why they want the applause and cheers controlled, which is understandable.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Show Me View Post
    I don't know how you can control the actions of the audience!
    This is absurd and IMO illegal.

    What was the girl supposed to do? Turn around and scream, 'SHUT UP?'
    She shouldn't have had to. The cheerleaders in her group should have known better as they signed a contract.
    the title of this article should be:
    Il Students Lose Diplomas Because Family Members Violate Contract.

    I am the biggest loudmouth around, but I know when to turn it on and when to turn it off. Simple courtesy here to the next in line. LOL, this is not too much to ask from an audience.

    In our youth baseball, if parents don't show up to work theiir shift in the snackbar, the kids have to forfeit the game. The idea is to get these parents to think of someone besides themselves and their own child;like the group as a whole. I see the same parallel here.

  14. #14
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    I think not giving them their diploma is abit extreme. It is a once in a lifetime event though and I think that others would like to be able to hear the names of their children being read as well. I saw this happen once at a pre-school graduation. The parents were nuts it was the most inapproriate thing I had ever seen. I be they won't have this problem at that high school next year.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleuthin4fun View Post
    I think not giving them their diploma is abit extreme. It is a once in a lifetime event though and I think that others would like to be able to hear the names of their children being read as well. I saw this happen once at a pre-school graduation. The parents were nuts it was the most inapproriate thing I had ever seen. I be they won't have this problem at that high school next year.
    But I think that is exactly why they chose this consequence. They let it be known in advance that their own children would suffer and they chose to do it anyway! What does that say about these family members and friends? I just don't get it myself. They probably thought, what parent would jeopardize their child getting their diploma?

    Well 5 of them would.

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