At every high school graduation the administrator in charge always tells parents to wait till the end to cheer for their students, and at every graduation, there's always a few parents who ignore that admonition and shout out. It's more or less a graduation tradition.
But I could see where families in Mississippi would truly be celebrating their child's graduation from high school, given the difficulty factor in actually reaching that milestone. One in four students in Mississippi drops out before graduation right now. If they do graduate, there's a good chance they'll go to college (80 percent do), so that high school diploma is a huge milestone.
However, at least one school superintendent objects to any public celebration in defiance of his orders. After the usual admonition about waiting till the end was disobeyed by enthusiastic parents, Superintendent Jay Foster tossed them out.
“My 18-year-old daughter, Lanarcia Walker, graduated from Senatobia High,” Linda Walker said.
The pomp and circumstance did not last long for some Mississippi families.
“He said ‘you did it baby’, waived his towel and went out the door,” Walker explained.
“When she went across the stage I just called her name out. ‘Lakaydra’. Just like that,” Ursula Miller said she shouted about her niece.
Miller and Henry Walker were two of the four people asked to leave Senatobia High School’s graduation ceremony for cheering.
Well, that's one of the consequences of breaking the rules. I get that. But what came next seems quite heavy handed to me. Instead of letting the whole issue die right there, Foster decided to serve them with a summons to court, one these families cannot afford to defend against.
Senatobia Municipal School District Superintendent Jay Foster filed ‘disturbing the peace’ charges against the people who yelled at graduation.
Officers issued warrants for their arrests with a possible $500 bond.
“It’s crazy,” Henry Walker said. “The fact that I might have to bond out of jail, pay court costs, or a $500 fine for expressing my love, it’s ridiculous man. It’s ridiculous.”
Superintendent Foster said the charges were far from ridiculous.
While Foster declined an on-camera interview with WREG, he said he’s determined to have order at graduation ceremonies.
“Okay,” Miller said. “I can understand they can escort me out of the graduation, but to say they going to put me in jail for it. What else are they allowed to do?”
“Why assign papers on someone? We don’t have money for anything like that,” Linda Walker said.
Why, indeed? Does Foster see himself as the plantation boss making sure all the black folks stay in line?
(h/t Hapkidogal on Twitter)