I know, I know, I'm a bad person.

So I left off writing for a day. Shame on me. Yeah yeah yeah.

I was reading a few articles this morning on some conflict surrounding a few local high school graduations.

The articles can be found here, and here.

The first article is an intriguing look kindof double standards the dominant religious mindset of the south will sometimes project. The girl in question was pregnant and finished her last few months of course work at home due to safety concerns. No problem there. I can understand the school requesting her to stay home. Maybe they have lots of stairs and are terrified of a lawsuit if she fell. Who knows.

But denying her the right to walk at graduation? When her baby's daddy is publically being allowed to walk? That sends an absurdely negative statement about the student, and betrays something of the legalistic mentality of the school officials in charge.

The second article concerns a different issue. Punishment for a senior prank (which, when described, sounds pretty lame, and abhorrent) includes denying the Valedictorian the right to speak at her graduation.

Now, I don't blame them for making this decision. If they had made the decision up front, there would be no complaint from me. I think the school should have the right to put any punishment on these kids that they see fit. I thought the other punishments were quite appropriate and very intentional and wise on the part of the principle. It is the information below that concerns me.


Excerpt from the Montgomery Advertiser Article, reprinted without permission.

"I spoke to her (McLaurine) last week at the parents meeting and I specifically asked her that if Ashley were to be named valedictorian, if she would be allowed to give her speech as valedictorian," Joe Isaac [Father of the Valedictorian] said Tuesday. "She told me I had nothing to worry about. I don't know why she lied to me."

[. . .]

"They have gone too far with this," Joe Isaac said. "All of the parents were told that the punishment for these kids would end today (Tuesday) and that graduation would go on as planned. And then they go ahead and do this to my daughter. It's not fair."

[. . .] Mary Louise Briers, a school board member who represents District 4, said she thought the action taken was unfair.

"The consequences for the children ended today (Tuesday)," she said. "Why her (Ashley) punishment is being extended another day is grossly unfair. It was not part of the agreement signed by the parents and I don't think it's right. She has worked 12 long, hard years to get where she is and deserves to speak to her classmates."

This implies that in the initial agreement and declaration of punishments, no mention was made of this restriction being placed on Ashley, and that all indications were given that once the punishment was completed, graduation would go on undisturbed. To then turn around and go back on your word as an administrator and educator is poor form on the part of the principal, and I think that she would be wise to admit to her mistake and allow Ashley to go ahead and speak as planned.

If any of you out there reading are interested in the speech Ashley would have given, it can be found here. It's nothing special, but it's worth noting that the internet has made possible what her principal is too shortsighted to allow.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


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