The entire class of 2014 graduates from Ridgewood High School in Norridge, Illinois were not given their diplomas at their commencement because many in the class threw their caps in celebration at the ceremony, according to The Chicago Tribune.
Ridgewood officials said that they warned the class of 2014 that “there would be consequences” if the graduates indulged in the old commencement ceremony ritual. The Ridgewood High School mascot may be the “Rebel,” but that type of behavior is not tolerated. Initially, the school announced that if seniors ever hoped to receive their diplomas, the Ridgewood students would have to publicly apologize for what the school officials called “disrespectful and insubordinate behavior.” The behavior that caused the temporary withholding of diplomas of the entire class can be seen approximately one hour and four minutes into the graduation ceremony:
“It was the perfect ending to the graduation, but unfortunately we didn’t get our diplomas,” graduate Andre Taraska told NBC Chicago. According to the Superintendent Robert Lupo, graduates throwing caps in the air in the past have caused people to be inadvertently hit with the ceremonial caps. Lupo also stated that the school takes “great pains to make the ceremony a dignified event.”
After some of the graduates ignored the school’s orders, the consequences were made clear. The schools website at one time stated, according to The Chicago Tribune, that not every class member would need to apologize to the at the board meeting, but representatives would need to publicly apologize if any of the students hoped to be given their diplomas.
“To all of the graduates who did not participate in the banned activity: I am sorry that your fellow classmates put you in this position. If you wish to voice your concerns, you should probably start with them,” Lupo wrote.
A least 33 comments were posted on the site in response to Lupo’s declaration and most of them disagreed with Lupo’s stance. One parent called the superintendent’s decision a power trip. Other parents say the school should be proud of their students because there are bigger things to worry about.
Lupo countered, “Perhaps it is the final lesson they will take away from high school: there are consequences for behaviors in life. If you are unwilling to face those consequences, perhaps you should rethink your actions.”
The graduates’ representatives were expected to apologize on behalf of their class to the school board on Wednesday June 4th before anyone would receive their diplomas. Wednesday, following the decision to withhold diplomas, the school’s website was updated and the decision was suddenly reversed after community upset:
“Regarding the distribution of diplomas; we recognize that most of those who participated in the graduation ceremonies were well-behaved and followed instructions. I am sorry that the ceremony was marred by a few students who chose not to follow those instructions. Consequently, we have re-thought our policy and will be sending out diplomas to all members of the class of 2014 today.”
Ridgewood High graduates who do not receive their diplomas by June 4th have been instructed to call the school at that time. Do you think that withholding the senior class’ diplomas, whether the individual graduates hurled their caps or not, until a public apology was made was an appropriate punishment for graduates?