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Diplomas Withheld At Graduation Ceremonies

June 7, 2012 by  

Diplomas Withheld At Graduation Ceremonies
Graduation ceremonies have become a source of controversy around the country.

Don’t get too excited about high school graduation. Doing so may cost your graduate his diploma. Or even worse: It may land you behind bars.

In Florence, S.C., Sharon Cooper was cuffed and taken to jail when she cheered for her graduating daughter, Iesha Cooper. She was charged with disorderly conduct.

Reportedly, parents were told to hold their applause until the end of the ceremony.

“It got to the point where people were hollering and then grabbing their things immediately to leave. I think EVERY person that acted this way should at least be fined and if taken to jail is what the police officer thought was needed then so be it,” wrote parent Tiffany Bell Dawkins on a local news site. You can see the conversation here.

In Mount Healthy, Ohio, senior Anthony Cornist had his diploma withheld because his family was too loud as he walked across the stage. The principal wrote in a letter to Cornist, “I will be holding your diploma in the main office due to the excessive cheering your guests displayed during the roll call.”

In addition, the football player got sacked with 20 hours of community service. In order to be awarded his diploma, he must serve the 20 hours.

“I have no clue where the logic comes in,” said his mother, Traci Cornist.

At McMinn County High School in Tennessee, diplomas were withheld because students decorated their caps. According to the graduates, more than 50 diplomas were withheld. Several graduates were ordered to complete community service.

Bryan Nash

Staff writer Bryan Nash has devoted much of his life to searching for the truth behind the lies that the masses never question. He is currently pursuing a Master's of Divinity and is the author of The Messiah's Misfits, Things Unseen and The Backpack Guide to Surviving the University. He has also been a regular contributor to the magazine Biblical Insights.

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  • revnowwhilewecan

    I heard this story on the radio. There are disgusting acts of selfishness sometimes like when there is excessive and prolonged celebrating and then the next graduate’s name cannot be recognized. I realize people should be happy for there loved one but some forget that there are others, sometimes hundreds, that also would like to be recognized aloud for their accomplishment. I obviously don’t agree with arrests or community services but I’m not sure what a fair solution would be. I just read a quote that said something like, “We are the products of 13.8 billion years of evolution, f#@%ing act like it!”

    • wandamurline

      When did it become against the law to be jubilent and shout for your kid because they made it all the way through high school? In my town, you can expect to have a lot of noise and shouting and celebrating….and the Police Chief would be removed from office if he arrested a parent for celebrating their child’s graduation….this is one of the most important parts of life.

      • Buster the Anatolian

        What is even worse is forcing a kid to do community service to receive their diploma because of something someone else did.

      • Ben Gardner

        The dumba$$ judge needs to be told to take his community service and pack it in a dark anatomical space. He is basically punishing the child for the “sins” of the parents. He needs immediate replacement.

      • Renée

        Basically it has to do with showing respect. Sometimes things can just go too far, with both sides. Families are asked at the beginning to hold their applause to the end so that they can have a smooth running ceremony for ALL to enjoy. Some groups are so loud the next group cant’ even hear the name of their loved one. If someone is trying film the ceremony for the students to purchase later on, all they get on film is screaming. It just isn’t fair to ALL the rest. I don’t have a problem with people giving a clap or a quit shout it but in this case it was prolonged and annoying to everyone in attendance. Keeping the diploma is over the top, the student wasn’t responsible for the immature actions of those in attendance so that wasn’t fair to the student. This is not a super bowl or a sporting event. It would be like going to the movies and having someone talking loudly through the entire film and you can’t hear anything that is going on. You wouldn’t get upset with that? Tickets are hard to come by for graduations. Some people come from all over the country just to hear that one name. Just show some respect, your family isn’t the only one there. Arrests, again, over the top, the principal should just give a quick rebuke to the annoying group and then continue or just stop until they calm down. When I was teaching I would would just stop until the loud and obnoxious would get back in control. This is a once in a life time event for everyone and it should be a time for all to enjoy not just the one group that doesn’t know how to control themselves. With that, I will be seeing my grand daughter graduate from H.S. tonight, I hope I don’t have to sit next to one of those that doesn’t know how to control themselves. All I want is to hear her name. PLEASE, show respect.

  • David

    The school officials should be reprimanded and the cop sued for false arrest. This was not the proper way to handle the situation, especially in the instance of the arrest. In 60 years, in all the graduations I have seen, the behavior of the parents is expected to be happy and cheering. Their child earned the applause.

    • eddie47d

      It also shows that the parents or loved ones don’t listen or show respect for the others in the audience. Graduations can be long and very repetitive and everyone is anxious for their child’s name to be called. Polite clapping is more appropriate instead of rowdy behavior by a few. Let the graduating student learn that quite respect for others instead of being loud and demanding. That may serve him or her better in the real world.

  • Peter

    The only thing left to say about the people who make these rules is ‘Sieg Heil!’

  • Margaret Manzi (@mostquiet)

    Arrest was the wrong solution in these instances. Being raucous isn’t a crime, even if it’s rude. The proceedings should have been stopped while the audience is reminded again to save their applause until the end. Under these standards for arrest, I know of some hockey parents who would have been handcuffed and removed from the rink.

  • JimH

    My whole graduating class would have been arrested.
    One of our classmates who made it by the skin of his teeth, and we thought wasn’t going to make it, was given a standing ovation, hooting chearing and catcalls.
    We were all just happy for him.
    240 graduates with arrest records or a minute of rowdyness.
    Our school chose to let us celebrate.


      Imagine if the families of all those 240 students took a minute of rowdyness for each individual person. It would take 7 or 8 hrs to get through the ceremony.

      • Adam F. Kohler

        When I graduated there were 444 students that graduated. It did not take 4 hours.

        • Ben Gardner

          When I graduated, there were two of us (small school). We shook hands in the principal’s office and they mailed me a diploma several months later (I graduated in January). I was first in the class and used to tease my classmate that he graduated in the lower half :)

  • Richard

    In 1972, appx. 60 of my fellow classmates (and me) out of appx. 131 graduating were handed empty folders at our ceremony. The following Monday we were given our actual diploma only after spending another day sitting in school. This was the forewarned penalty for organizing and attending the very first Senior Skip Day, which was held at my grandparents farm. However, no arrests or fines.

  • BobC

    The the school officials involved should have their pay withheld for abusive behavior which far exceeded their authority!

    • Rick

      Last I knew The School Board not the principal decides the requirements of graduation. And as for arrest SUE the City, the police chief, and the principal. If people can’t hear the next name slow down the line until it quiets down. Come on for a principal with at least a masters degree this is not that hard to figure out. It is not rocket science. Sounds like these principals have issueswith being in total control.

      • WILDFIRE

        Your solution is to “slow the line down” because of the disorderly conduct of a select few that are incapable of following rules thus prolonging the ceremonies to drag on take hrs and hrs to complete if there are several hundred graduates to announce. The people who are causing the delay for the rest of the ceremony don’t care or respect the others at the ceremony because they are likely to not sit through the rest of the ceremony once their family member has been announced.

        There are reasons for having such commencement rules as one applause at the of the ceremony versus 250 applause’s throughout a ceremony of of a graduating class of 250. It would take 6-8 hours to complete the ceremony if a minute of applause was reserved for each student, each time a name was announced. People would need to be leaving the ceremony to use the restroom and may miss their family members named called because it being dragged out so long.

        If a family wants to get rowdy and disorderly and in most cases obnoxiously rude to others surrounding them, then they can save the rowdyness for the Graduation party, and announce the graduate’s presence and accomplishment at the party. But when in public be respectful of other realizing that there are 200 or 250 other families equally excited about their families graduation and are waiting to get to it but are being held up because of disrespectful families that care only about their self.

  • RJ

    It could have been much worse, a drone could have been sent in and taken out the offending parent. Typical mouth breathing, knuckle dragging, empty sack poor excuse for a cop that the citizens are forced to deal with on a daily basis. Peace out.

  • lady kroft

    Ah, NAZI America.

  • http://PersonalLibertyDigest Warren Browder

    The article is misleading. Florence, SC, didn’t withhold diploma’s. The women WERE arrested, but only after becoming belligerent OUTSIDE the auditorium.
    After having my graduation ruined by a belligerent visitor, I can understand the administrations’ viewpoint. Graduation is about the person(s) who did the work, not the visitors and family. This is THEIR moment to shine. Save the huzzahs for a later, more personal time , when they can appreciate the kudos.

  • Clark

    I am not surprised that some of those who were attending the graduation were loud and obnoxious. In today’s USA many of the parents probably never made it through highschool themselves. Their behavior most likely is a direct result of ignorance and stupidity. This is not the same country that I was raised up in. In my school days, bad or boorish behavior would have been dealt with at home with much more severity.

    • Renée

      Times have sure changed. Now the gov. is even in control of discipline. What a shame.

  • http://google john p.

    are you ready for Socialism it is starting . this is how it starts nice and slow
    then they nail ya . by the time you realize it they got you . you got to vote these
    Democrats out they are DICTATORS they got to much power . when you see things
    like this going on in schools what dose it tell you . Obama has a knack for brain
    washing people in to be leaving in him and the DEMOCRATS . they all play the blame game with there lies .

    • eddie47d

      This article has nothing to do with Obama or Democrats but in your idiotic and petty reasoning you made it so. It was about respect or lack of respect for all graduating students on a school campus. Not an opportunity for some political misfit like yourself to change the dance card.

    • Daveh234

      Certainly had nothing to do with Democrats or Republicans.
      Maybe you could use some education yourself. It’s not political, everything you don’t like is not political.
      Parents get excited, they hear their kids name, they cheered them on.
      I think it is more important to honor those that didn’t drop out and not graduate.
      But these events happen in larger spaces sometimes than when I trudged through the ceremony.
      Sounds like this group were a little rowdier than others even after taking it outside.
      Parents can be embarrassing sometimes.

  • JD Sparks

    In what world does a principal think they have the right to withhold the diploma and require this kid to do community service (after he has already graduated) because of the actions of OTHERS? This is illegal if you ask me. A) He has graduated and simply attending a service doesn’t un-graduate him or remove the fact that he has earned that diploma. B) The actions of others, unless he FORCED them, is not his responsibility! If the guy had an issue with their actions he should have kicked them out of the event. C) It isn’t like they raided the stage and screwed up the event… it isn’t the end of the world. D) Once you graduate the principal has no authority over you??? What does he think he is a damn dictator?

  • 45caliber

    When I graduated, they handed us our diplomas. Now they hand out an empty envelope or something so they can hold that diploma over the heads of the graduates. Sad, isn’t it?

  • Concerned_parent_1 jillionand29

    I hate to say it.. but the lawyers will win in this case again. The right thing to do here is refuse the community service and sue for the diplomas.

    • Rick

      Better yet walk in amasse and retrive the diplomas and if the principal interferes tie him to his chair and push him down the hall for all to see. and leave him sitting somewhere to “think about” how he has behaved.

  • Steve E

    Fellow Comrades, Please hold your applause until after the Super Bowl is over. Any outburst from the crowd will result in the teams touchdown to be voided.

  • mac

    As a catch-all excuse for LEO detainment the Disorderly Conduct charge needs to be expunged from lawbooks everywhere! Surely more specific acts – more disruptive than merely some brief vocal exhortations – need to be justified before hauling off citizens to the clink.

  • THG 1956

    I’m not sure how things are done in other cities , but in the town I live in there are 7 high schools graduating . Unfortunately there’s only one place large enough to hold graduation and allow the graduating class room to invite their family and a few friends and even then it’s limited. Most of the classes have 300 or more graduates and because every single class wants to have their graduation on the same day , it is important that there’s no excessive behavior after each students name. Here we are all asked to wait until the entire class has been called before we start the celebration . This is done so that the next class graduating is not held up for hours as the day wears on.
    There is always a few that will applauad their child when he or she walks. I guess the difference here is no one is jailed for it. Now if it gets excessive , the ones that are doing it are escorted out , but the student is not held responsible for the actions of anyone in the audience.
    I have 3 children , all graduating high school and college (proud parent indeed ) and I have to say we had no problems at any of the graduations. My youngest Daughter went to Med. school , her graduating class had over 3,000 that’s 3 thousand graduate at different times , but the same day . Can you imagine how long it would have taken to hold a graduation if every parent , of every child went on and on when their childs name was called. Think about how you would feel by the time your childs name got called if say it started with a “W” .

  • AJ

    Ah fascism isn’t it wonderful? Get used to it America.

  • Glen

    It makes little sense to punish the graduate who is being cheered. However, it makes great sense to punish the loud, obnoxious guest at the ceremony. When my son graduated from high school in Las Cruces, NM, the many loud people around me ruined the experience for me. If I could have, I would have filed a complaint against each one committing the acts of disturbing the peace. While they may indeed be happy to see their poor student graduating, mine was a very good one and I could not enjoy the moment due to the inconsiderate slobs. Arresting them and/or fining them seems like simple justice.

  • antonio

    This is actually a good thing that they are treating the people this way, because now all the dumb stupid ignorant sheep might wake up to the rising pig state. I think that more schools should punish these kids with a lot of community service like 180 days you know, seriously just 20 hours? Pigs should arrest more parents for BS this way more people will wake up…Aren’t these “heroes” really great? I love it and I wish that this happens in more states…
    Kudos to the heroes…


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