School Superintendent Stands By Pressing Criminal Charges Against Families Who Cheered Too Loudly At Graduation

School Superintendent Stands By Pressing Criminal Charges Against Families Who Cheered Too Loudly At Graduation

At every graduation, parents and families are asked to hold their cheering and applause until the end of the ceremony. And at every graduation the school officials are ignored. One superintendent had enough and had some especially loud people arrested and charged with disturbing the peace – and he’s not backing down. He will testify in court supporting the charges.

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Senatobia school Superintendent Jay Foster reiterated in a telephone interview on Friday that his aim is to ensure that some families don’t ruin graduations for others by raising a ruckus.

He said that when he first started at Senatobia four years ago, out-of-control cheering meant some families couldn’t hear a graduate’s name called or see them cross the stage to receive their diploma.

‘I think graduation should be a solemn occasion,’ he said. ‘It should have some dignity and decorum and at the end we’ll celebrate together.’

He said he filed misdemeanor, disturbing-the-peace charges against three people because they disobeyed repeated instructions to hold cheers at the May 21 event.

Before filing the charges, which carry a fine of up to $500 and jail time of up to six months, Foster said he consulted with school board members, administrators and the district’s lawyer.

‘We thought, let’s serve them with papers for disturbing the peace,’ he said.

‘They’ll pay a fine. Maybe they’ll learn their lesson. It was not about punishing these people. It was about the rights of the other graduates.’
The incident has focused national attention on the town of 8,000 about 30 miles south of Memphis, Tennessee.

‘I think graduation should be a solemn occasion,’ he said. ‘It should have some dignity and decorum and at the end we’ll celebrate together.’

He said he filed misdemeanor, disturbing-the-peace charges against three people because they disobeyed repeated instructions to hold cheers at the May 21 event.

Before filing the charges, which carry a fine of up to $500 and jail time of up to six months, Foster said he consulted with school board members, administrators and the district’s lawyer.

‘We thought, let’s serve them with papers for disturbing the peace,’ he said.

‘They’ll pay a fine. Maybe they’ll learn their lesson. It was not about punishing these people. It was about the rights of the other graduates.’
The incident has focused national attention on the town of 8,000 about 30 miles south of Memphis, Tennessee.

Rudeness should not be tolerated at a public occasion like a graduation – and the superintendent is right. It’s rude to the people whose names are being called next when families cheer too loud and too long. But, a fine is one thing; criminal charges for cheering on a family member’s achievements are another.

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