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What do you think: should high school students who misbehave during graduation ceremonies be denied their diploma?

Graduating from high school is an important milestone for both students and their parents -- the graduation ceremony, an opportunity to publicly recognize this significant achievement for their family. Sometimes, though, the excitement of the moment can get the best of some students, who as a result may engage in various antics, such as throwing beach balls, making rude hand gestures from the stage, doing 'the wave' in the bleachers, screaming obscenities, etc.

To address this issue and prevent disruption, many schools will establish rules or guidelines for graduation ceremony behavior. When the rules aren't followed, the school leadership may then deny these students the privilege of walking the stage and receiving their diploma publicly.

What do you think:
Is this an appropriate response to maintain order and set an example to other students? What behavior do you think should be banned at graduation ceremonies? Beyond walking across the stage, shaking the hands of school leaders and accepting one's diploma, is there any celebratory behavior you believe should be allowed?

We'd love to hear your thoughts!  
In Topics: My Relationship with my child's school, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Jun 30, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

You're right that high school graduation is a milestone for both students and their parents.  It's an exciting time filled with many emotions for everyone.  A certain amount of order is expected at high school graduation ceremonies.  However, we need to expect that with a new sense of freedom, teens will often test their limits.  Clear rules and guidelines should be explained to them before the ceremony.  Those rules should be accompanied by explicit consequences for when the rules are broken.  A teen that puts their fists up in the air as the walk across the stage as a sign of accomplishment should be treated very differently than a teen that shouts obscenities to the crowd as make their way across.  As long as they do not do or say something that is offensive or destructive, they should be allowed to celebrate appropriately during their ceremony.  

As long as the rules and consequences for the graduation ceremony are clearly stated, the school should have discretion as to what type of punishment a teen receives if they disobey those rules.  If the school feels that not allowing a teen to walk across the stage because of their behavior then that decision should be supported.

Schools should be allowed to maintain the level of order they feel is appropriate.

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Additional Answers (6)

bob
bob , Parent writes:
There is a certain formality to the graduation ceremony that I believe should be preserved, and students who significantly disrupt it should be escorted out.  There is a time and place for most things, and the pomp and circumstance of the ceremony is so important to a lot of people.  It only takes a few erratically behaving students to ruin that experience for everyone.

Graduation is a time of ceremony and celebration.  Both are needed.  Just as someone might insist on order and quiet at a post-graduation party seems out of place, so does the student who gets out of hand at the formal party of the graduation ceremony.
> 60 days ago

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SMPTUE
SMPTUE writes:
There are far worse things the schools should be lecturing about than silly antics at high school graduation.  Crazy gestures are a tradition of graduation in their own right.  It's a time of celebrating for the students, not the teachers or strangers in the audience.  The graduates are all in a happy mood and want to share their enthusiasm with each other, who they may not see again for many years or at all, and their families in attendance.  Let them!  It's High School, for crying out loud. Not Harvard!

I would love to see every person who did something crazy or improper at their high school graduation be sent a letter stating that they never should have graduated, their diploma is temporarily revoked, and their position in the workforce is to cease immediately until the situation is resolved.  This country would fall to its knees! Some of the brightest minds today responsible for technological and medical marvels, and most skilled businessmen/women who have kept us afloat in dire times did something crazy at their high school graduation.  Those are the students who aren't afraid to shine, aren't afraid of being noticed and going for the gold in what they believe in and in life.  

I would limit the antics to exclude vulgarities, but beyond that is just absurd.  Withholding a diploma for students doing the wave? Are you kidding me?  Ridiculous!
> 60 days ago

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lizabela
lizabela writes:
yes   because it is indiscipline behaviour,cz they drink alcohol ad u mast take action
> 60 days ago

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Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
This is a very interesting question. When I graduated which was is 1993 from highschool, kids would clap, screamed stuff life the student's name out, and other things like "grats". However, I just recently went to a local graduation where the parents were yelling out curse words, throwing stuff at the faculty, and calling them names. One boy yelled out the "f" word to all the administration and it was rather shocking to say the least.
As I sat back and observed this type of behavior, I realized there is a sharp decline in "respect and manners" in today's schools. It appears to be getting worse too. I also noticed that everything they tried to do (even police) had no bearing. I personally would not want my child to graduate in this situation and she won't, but for the parents who can't help this environment, I think its fair to have consequences. After all, these are young women going into the work force. There should be some type of punishment/penalty for extreme misbehavior.
I think the BEST thing to do is have a class on graduation and what it means along with a manners class. But there is really no simple solution other than to not hold the ceremony and mail the degrees (which is an option) and the parents can hold their own local ceremony.
> 60 days ago

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Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
young women and men is what I meant to say above..
> 60 days ago

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Wayne Yankus
Wayne Yankus writes:
Lots of interesting responses.  First of all for many students this is the end of formal education.  Society expects maturity and a degree of how they will behave in the work world.  Second, the next step may be Harvard for some!  Third, families gather to celebrate the completion in most cases of a free public education and the successful completion of course requirements.  A certain degree of decorum for the occasion is expected as respect for faculty and graduates.  Less that that is a sign of immaturity and lack of readiness for the grown up world.

Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics
> 60 days ago

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