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You Cheer, You Lose Your Diploma
June 4, 2007 8:16 AM   Subscribe

5 students were barred from receiving copies of their diplomas (NYTimes Link) at the Galesburg High School graduation, after friends and family members cheered when their names were read. Good luck to future graduates to keep Nana and Aunt Bertha in check.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero (122 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I attended a graduation ceremony for a seminary (a SEMINARY) a few weeks ago, and a long speech was made at the beginning of the ceremony strongly encouraging the audience not to engage in "noise recognition", to maintain the decorum of the event, etc. But it still happened for about 30% of the graduates, getting more frequent and louder as the ceremony dragged on.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:18 AM on June 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Diplomas Denied Over Graduation Cheers" should be "Diplomas Denied Over Ovations". If you're going to alliterate, go whole hog.
posted by Eideteker at 8:21 AM on June 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


So, if you want to screw your enemies over, you cheer when they're on stage? Seriously, does anyone think these things through for five seconds?
posted by stevis23 at 8:26 AM on June 4, 2007 [4 favorites]


"Four of the five Galesburg students who were denied diplomas are black and one is Hispanic. Parents say cheers also erupted for white students but none of those students was denied a diploma."
posted by BeerFilter at 8:27 AM on June 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


There are few ceremonies I loathe more than commencement. Catholic-style weddings, possibly.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:27 AM on June 4, 2007


Give a little power to a little man, especially a school administrator, and they'll ring all they can out of it.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:30 AM on June 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


“Lots of parents complained that they could not hear their own child’s name called,” said Joel Estes, the school’s assistant superintendent.

This, to me, seems to be a valid complaint. I don't know if messing with the kid's diploma is the right answer though.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:32 AM on June 4, 2007


and they'll ring all they can out of it.

it's 'wring' with a 'w.'

*takes diploma*
posted by jonmc at 8:34 AM on June 4, 2007 [4 favorites]


OK. So 4 years of work is being recognized, and the numbskull calling out the graduates names can't wait a few seconds for the applause...
posted by Gungho at 8:35 AM on June 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it wouldn't be hard to issue a Denial of Diploma attack just by getting a few friends to shout at people you hate. What the hell? Is this guy Principal Snyder? Where's the giant snake, anyway?
posted by adipocere at 8:35 AM on June 4, 2007 [9 favorites]


I can't decide how I feel about this. When I graduated from NYU, the college graduation was at Madison Square Garden, and it was totally a zoo. Totally unorganized (they didn't even tell us when it was over; the speakers marched out and that was that- no marching out or anything), all the graduates near me talked on their cell phones throughout the ceremony, audience members were hooting and hollering; it didn't feel like a proper end to all the work I had done to finish college. BUT when I'm sitting through a long, boring graduation ceremony for someone I love, all I want to do is yell and cheer and scream for them.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:35 AM on June 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


OK. So 4 years of work is being recognized, and the numbskull calling out the graduates names can't wait a few seconds for the applause...

Nothing is too small or too petty for victim-blaming!
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:36 AM on June 4, 2007


I'm just grateful my mother didn't throw my father off the balcony during mine.

Ah the fun of being a child of divorced parents....
posted by gomichild at 8:39 AM on June 4, 2007


A friend of my family is a principal at a high school here, and she gets up before every graduation ceremony and says "It is a violation of South Carolina law to disrupt a graduation ceremony. If you will look behind you, there are sheriff's deputies stationed in each of the aisles. If you start cheering or making noise of any kind before the end of the ceremony when we cheer for all graduates, then you will be escorted from the building and arrested." I think that she had three parents escorted out or arrested in 2002 and that she hasn't had to do it since. She makes the announcement and has the deputies there every year though.

For the people who bemoan the abuse of power, would you want to be able to hear your child's name called when they graduate, or would you want their named drowned out by catcalls for the last graduate? Or a six hour long ceremony where the reader paused for the shouts to die down?
posted by ND¢ at 8:42 AM on June 4, 2007


It's nice to see the sins of the fathers being visited so immediately upon the children. It usually takes a few years, which can dampen the impact.
posted by Atom Eyes at 8:46 AM on June 4, 2007 [13 favorites]


I think they ought to have one of the guys that introduces players at NBA games announce the names of graduates over a ginormous sound system, while at the same time projecting the names on a giant board. And have some upbeat music blaring. Then let the parents and friends go nuts.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:46 AM on June 4, 2007 [7 favorites]


That doesn't make any sense at all. Why punish the student for the actions of others? Are these kids not going to graduate, or simply not be given paper copies of their diplomas.

My collage graduation featured cheering. It wasn't really that solemn, although I think high school graduation was a bit more so.

I think the heavy handed totalitarianism of arresting people at a graduation would be a lot more dispiriting then simply having some yelling during the awarding of diplomas.
posted by delmoi at 8:47 AM on June 4, 2007


and strobe lights. Also the students jump out of a paper covered ring.
posted by boo_radley at 8:47 AM on June 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


Actually, how about this? Just have everyone cheer every graduate. That way, no one feels left out if they don't bring a cheering section.
posted by delmoi at 8:48 AM on June 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Or, you know, people could just like, deal, and be human beings, and fucking cope without penalties, fucked up rules, or Sheriff's deputies. I mean seriously. It's a fricking graduation. How goddamned softheaded and weird and authoritarian are we wanting to get, people?
posted by stenseng at 8:48 AM on June 4, 2007 [5 favorites]


Catholic-style weddings, possibly.
Heh. Another heretic tripped-up by the double-secret kneel-sit-kneel-stand dance.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:50 AM on June 4, 2007 [4 favorites]


I can't say I feel TOO sorry for them. There is something pretty selfish about disrupting a graduation ceremony for hundreds of students, just because you feel like YOUR relative deserves something special. If everyone got five minutes of cheering for their name, the ceremony would take all day and night! Other people are being respectful and quiet, and I think people who think those rules don't apply to them are just rude. I went to a fairly "ghetto" high school in a not-so-good area of town and I remember at my graduation ceremony there were a few very disruptive people... it really just comes across as quite selfish and childish.

On the other hand I went to a highschool graduation on Saturday at an arts school. The graduating class was pretty small (like 135 or something), and the whole audience clapped for each student. Plus, the students actually seemed to have been encouraged to engage in antics while crossing the stage, or at least the administrators on stage reacted with pleasure when they did. (One guy pulled out a teacup and took a sip while crossing... that was funny.) It was a lot more fun than a normal graduation. But it can really only work on a small scale.
posted by crackingdes at 8:50 AM on June 4, 2007


My high school threatened this every year. As far as I know they haven't gone through with it though. There was some cheering at my ceremony, but most people followed the rule. Honestly the rule-breakers almost made the whole thing seem more human. My graduation was so large and with an air of iron-control-by-administrators that it felt pretty impersonal and machine-like. More "get the hell out of here, and don't try anything" and less "congrats and good luck." Ironically it was also a zoo: getting to the designated area to return the gown required navigating a mob. Surely there's a way to make it enjoyable at these big ceremonies without denying someone a degree for their family and friends cheering. Or threatening to.
posted by Tehanu at 8:53 AM on June 4, 2007


(At the seminary graduation I went to, there were no onstage antics, except one crazy kook who pulled out his PDA to take a picture of chancellor Chuck Swindoll, who turned to the guy sitting next to him and said, " I can't believe that man is taking a picture!" And the man taking the picture was, you guessed it, my father).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:54 AM on June 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was at my niece's high school graduation yesterday and some group of bozos let off six long airhorn blasts for their kid, drowning out at least one other graduate's name. The height of rudeness. What gets me is when some kid without a cheering section is announced and his name meets with with near silence. That's sad.

The best moment at this thing was during the superintendent of schools' speech. As he droned on and on about the road ahead—mind you, it was outdoors, in about 50 degree weather with a bone-chilling drizzle—a young guy came out of the stands to the front and yelled, "Just give them their f*cking diplomas!" He got the loudest ovation of all.
posted by stargell at 8:54 AM on June 4, 2007


When one of the African exchange students graduated at my college, her family rushed the stage and put on a brief drum/dance celebration (very brief, very cool). Highlight of the whole event.

But then, there's the guys who yell "T-BONE!" and use air horns. I hate those guys.

Maybe the best answer would be to break up ginormous classes into small groups and graduate them simultaneously. Complicated, but more enjoyable. Who wants to be a W when you've got a class of 2,000?
posted by emjaybee at 8:56 AM on June 4, 2007


Maybe the best answer would be to break up ginormous classes into small groups and graduate them simultaneously. Complicated, but more enjoyable. Who wants to be a W when you've got a class of 2,000?

The university I attended for undergrad did that, with each college having a separate ceremony for the reading of names. There was also a uni-wide ceremony with a commencement speaker, but no diplomas given. I attended neither.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:00 AM on June 4, 2007


How goddamned softheaded and weird and authoritarian are we wanting to get, people?

Amen... I think people like the principal who arrests parents are a huge part of the reason every generation is more packed with shitheads than the last.
posted by autodidact at 9:06 AM on June 4, 2007 [6 favorites]


Even high schools can have large classes (I think my husband's was around 1000). So, no, you can't pause for the cheering to end, unless you want everyone to go insane before the end of the ceremony.
posted by evening at 9:07 AM on June 4, 2007


Look, for many high school graduates, it's the happiest day of their lives, and the happiest day of their parents' lives as well. For most proles, things only go downhill from high school graduation. I say let 'em cheer!</EliteFilter>

On a related note, my mother was a model parent during my HSG. Afterwards, she told me she hated staying quiet. For my sister's HSG five years later, she screamed with the best of 'em. (My sister and I were both valedictorians.)
posted by infinitewindow at 9:08 AM on June 4, 2007


crackingdes writes "I can't say I feel TOO sorry for them. There is something pretty selfish about disrupting a graduation ceremony for hundreds of students, just because you feel like YOUR relative deserves something special."

So it's cool to penalize a kid, not because they're selfish, but because their relatives are?
posted by Bugbread at 9:09 AM on June 4, 2007


Catholic-style weddings, possibly.

You would hate a commencement mass at a Catholic high school.
posted by thecaddy at 9:10 AM on June 4, 2007


galesburg, illinois is a hole in the ground ... it's exactly the kind of hole in the ground town where the city elders often speak to one another and complain that all the young people are leaving for other places

now you know one reason why
posted by pyramid termite at 9:11 AM on June 4, 2007


Heh. Another heretic tripped-up by the double-secret kneel-sit-kneel-stand dance.

I'll give you a hint, just don't sit in the front row and watch what everyone around you was doing.
posted by TungstenChef at 9:11 AM on June 4, 2007


Oh yeah, and to stay on topic this is a crock of shit. The best response to utterly humorless administrators is to vote in new, slightly less humorless ones.
posted by TungstenChef at 9:13 AM on June 4, 2007


when the state denies a student an earned benefit, such as a diploma, for reasons completely outside the student's control, that's why we have lawyers, and with these five students (four blacks plus one hispanic) it doesn't take a legal genius tp figure out what to do next. not just the race card, but ace to deuce in the suit of race. the district would have to spend the equivalent of two teachers' annual salaries and benefits just defending the case in an atmosphere of nuclear racial acrimony, and then do one of two things: raise taxes or dump the music and drama programs to pay for it.
posted by bruce at 9:19 AM on June 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


The school said the five students can still get their diplomas by completing eight hours of public service, answering phones, sorting books or doing other work for the district.

Sounds fair enough to me.
posted by teleskiving at 9:20 AM on June 4, 2007


People attend commencements? In between working and college applications, I skipped mine.
posted by boo_radley at 9:20 AM on June 4, 2007


CHEERS COULD HAVE COVERED THE APPROACH OF A TERROR ATTACK DON'T YOU PEOPLE KNOW THERE IS A WAR ON AND THEY ALMOST TOOK OUT JFK AIRPORT LAST WEEK 9/11 CHANGED EVERYTHING WHY DO YOU HATE AMERICA SO MUCH?
posted by quonsar at 9:21 AM on June 4, 2007 [17 favorites]


Wa'Da'Ya'Mean, no cheering¡?! I never heard of such foolishness.
posted by taosbat at 9:23 AM on June 4, 2007


who cares about Bumfuck High School, really. there's not much to cheer about anyway. but I think that the relatives who have had to pay the appalling tuition of America's top colleges deserve to shoot AK-47 rounds in the air to celebrate the end of their fleecing.
posted by matteo at 9:24 AM on June 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


bugbread: So it's cool to penalize a kid, not because they're selfish, but because their relatives are?

well, i do see your point but...
kids in high school get penalized for their parent's behavior all the time.... if their parents get them to school late... or make them stay home from school to babysit siblings... or fail to buy them school supplies... etc. not saying that is fair but it is just the way it works.

on a related note, if i have a guest over to my apartment complex and they break something or destroy something, i am liable to pay for it. i cant necessarily stop them from speeding through the gate and breaking it but i have to pay if they do. another thing that is not really fair, but since my landlord only has power over me and not my guests, that is the way that it works.

i guess the idea is, you should be considerate enough of your friend or relative or child to consider the consequences to them if you misbehave while you are their guest.
posted by crackingdes at 9:25 AM on June 4, 2007


When my 6th-grade class graduated from elementary school, our teachers made us perform a synchronized dance routine on-stage while "Walk the Dinosaur" by Was (Not Was) played over the PA.

I wish I could have had them arrested.
posted by No-sword at 9:28 AM on June 4, 2007 [8 favorites]


here, quonsar..you can borrow my shift lock key...

on topic... attending a graduation is the first mistake, I skipped HS, college, and masters....
posted by HuronBob at 9:28 AM on June 4, 2007


You know who else allowed cheering at ceremonies?

Hitler.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:30 AM on June 4, 2007 [11 favorites]


For the people who bemoan the abuse of power, would you want to be able to hear your child's name called when they graduate, or would you want their named drowned out by catcalls for the last graduate? Or a six hour long ceremony where the reader paused for the shouts to die down?

Would you want to be punished for the actions of people whom you cannot control? Did you actually read the article?
posted by Mikey-San at 9:32 AM on June 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hope the school administrators have full glass insurance on their cars.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:36 AM on June 4, 2007


crackingdes, you're so mixed up i can't tell where to begin. #1, you don't have to pay if someone else damages the front gate of your complex, that's between the driver and the landlord. #2, parents are not "guests" of their children at a public school graduation, the school is a public asset and the parents, collectively with the other taxpayers, own this asset. #3, there is no evidence that it was the parents cheering, as opposed to other student friends and perhaps other student adversaries who wanted to deny the victims their diplomas.

teleskiving, that's called "abject capitulation".
posted by bruce at 9:36 AM on June 4, 2007


Lame. The kid graduating can't control the audience. And they have to do public service to get their diploma? Why not have the fuckers who were making the noise do the public service.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 9:44 AM on June 4, 2007


Wait, does not receiving your diploma negate the fact that you graduated? Does not receiving that piece of paper mean all your graduating credits just disappear from the school system? It's just a sheet of paper. I don't know what college applications are like in the US but here in Ontario (possibly all of Canada) they just need your transcript, since most kids apply in their last year and don't have their diplomas yet. I waited 2 years before applying for uni and they still didn't ask me for my diploma. Maybe there are reasons why you'd need your high school diploma in the future, but I can't think of any, besides wanting to frame it. If my experience is the same in the US, then I'd just say 'fuck you' to the school, the community service, and head to university....
posted by Menomena at 9:46 AM on June 4, 2007


Did Andy Card ever get his diploma then?
posted by mattbucher at 9:46 AM on June 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I find this all very weird. At my high school graduation (nearyly half my life ago *sigh*) pretty much everyone got a couple seconds of applause with some cheering added in depending on how many relatives showed up or how popular the kid was. Things moved along just fine. With the exception of the last guy (who is on the PGA tour now, Google tells me,) I don't think there was more than a three count of cheering for anyone.
posted by Cyrano at 9:47 AM on June 4, 2007


People attend commencements? In between working and college applications, I skipped mine.

You were still filling out college applications by June of your senior year?

I echo those who point out that the flaw in this scheme is that it leaves graduates vulnerable to the denial-of-diploma attack by malicious actors.

The nice thing about college (and grad school) graduation was that it was held outdoors and used a loud sound system, so really, you could have cheered if you wanted to, but no one would have heard you.

It wasn't until I got my doctorate that I remembered to bring a book for commencement. All those degrees don't stop me from being a slow learner.
posted by deanc at 9:49 AM on June 4, 2007


When my 6th-grade class graduated from elementary school, our teachers made us perform a synchronized dance routine on-stage while "Walk the Dinosaur" by Was (Not Was) played over the PA.

Was is it that happens to people's brains to make them think that stuff like this is a good idea?
posted by deanc at 9:51 AM on June 4, 2007


"It’s an important, solemn occasion,” said Clarke Campbell, president of the Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners.

Get real. It's a high school "graduation" where a bunch of barely edu-macated meatheads are being handed their discharge papers before being released.

The self-importance of these "educators" is mind boggling.
posted by three blind mice at 9:52 AM on June 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


It's simple, really. Make sure you're located alphabetically behind some huge loser that nobody likes--or maybe some poor kid with no family--and your parents will have no problem hearing your name called. Or, make sure your last name starts with Aa.
posted by goatdog at 10:00 AM on June 4, 2007


Preparing to get flamed here....

I totally agree with what they did. Here's why:
1. Cheering obnoxiously ruins it for other people

2. Others can't hear their kids names...so it ruins it for them. And is incredibly disrespectful for others.

3. There is often a competiton to see who gets the loudest cheers-and it builds on itself, and ruins it for those who don't get any cheers (from a family that is respectful of others)

4. How can you set rules that say "you can only cheer this loudly"-so you disallow it for everyone until the end.

5. People need to have a little self control. They were told far ahead of time that this was the consequence and yet their families and friends did it anyway. People, there are certain societal restraints that exist-whether or not you like them, there they are. This was a stated, obvious rule and consequence and people disregarded it-thinking themselves above the rule. Well, tough shit people. You knew the consequences-if you really cared for your kid you would have followed the rules...and also taken the opportunity to show your child that following the rules is important. A good lesson when leaving high school and entering the "real world" where abiding by societal rules is so important to success.

6. Regarding the racism thing...in my high school (in Oakland)-across the board the kids who got the loudest, longest, and most disturbing and obnoxious cheers were black students. It was almost embarassing how obvious it was. People were thinking...here comes another black kid...prepare yourself for 5 minutes of chaos. So I find it hard to believe that it was that evil racism rearing its' ugly head again.

Finally, they only didn't get the piece of paper...they still graduated.
posted by aacheson at 10:02 AM on June 4, 2007 [4 favorites]


And we move one step closer to waking up from the nightmare that is ceremonial formality.
posted by yesster at 10:04 AM on June 4, 2007


My heart doesn't bleed for them. Eight hours of "service" is really nothing. I guess if they needed one last reminder that high school sucks and is full of unfair and arbitrarily enforced rules, then they got it.
posted by hermitosis at 10:06 AM on June 4, 2007


A point of clarity: the kids aren't being denied their high school diploma, in the sense that their coursework is somehow being retroactively negated. They're being denied the actual piece of paper that commemorates that work, unless they complete some "community service".

The self-importance of these "educators" is mind boggling.
I agree that educators--particularly secondary school administrators--can be stunningly self-important. But, as a teacher (professor now, high school teacher at the beginning of my career), I understand why this is a problem. I attend commencement ceremonies every year, and I think many here don't have a clear idea of just how fucking loud and obnoxious people have gotten at these things.

Think about how bad movie theaters have gotten: I used to get annoyed with people who let their cell phones ring. Now, I don't mind the ringing--it's the assholes who answer the fucking phone and have a conversation during the movie who drive me crazy. This happens on a regular basis now. (I have a student who manages the local multiplex, and she says that every week they have to have security or police remove people from theaters, for loudness, or because of conflicts resulting from others' responding to loudness.)

It is part of a high school's job to teach kids non-subject things like how to assemble peacefully, how not to be an asshole to each other, etc. It's part of the high school's job because schools don't just teach subjects--they teach kids, young, developing human beings, and a certain amount of teaching-about-life is unavoidable. The ceremonies I go to have gotten, over the past decade (sample size: three distinct regions of the U.S.), more and more unruly--it really seems to me that many people simply do not know how to politely gather in public at all. And are completely unaware that their screaming, air-horn-blaring selves might be: 1. bothering people around them (air horns are loud), and 2. preventing other families from hearing the names of their own kids. You don't have a right to disrupt the entire ceremony (and others' ability to enjoy it) just because your kid did something that every other kid sitting down there did, too. It's fucking rude.

At my university, being in California, the ceremony is always outdoors, and the school just resorted to giant stacks of amps so that the graduates' names are so loud that nothing short of a riot can drown them out. (of course, those near the stacks of amps lose hearing.)

So this school is trying to enforce public decorum. I don't think that's a bad thing in principle, they are after all trying to teach young people. Where I take issue is in the response they chose--I actually prefer the principal who just had the yellers arrested.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:19 AM on June 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


It is easy enough to put down comencement ceremonies but since they are often skipped or ignored by people I sneak into as many local ones as I can so I can be among a happy crowd of people. I used to wander into cemetaries for funerals but most of the folks there were sort of in a down mood so I no longer go to thse events. When I go to graduations, I cheer for all the people as they get diplomas. The nice thing is that each year the graudates are always the same age, so it makes me feel the same age too.
posted by Postroad at 10:20 AM on June 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


I can see the need for this.
A few years ago at a local graduation, a larger lady walked across and some people called out, "HEY PREGGERS."
To the next guy in line, they called out, "HEY, ARE YOU THE DAD??"
That's just a light sample of what went on as it went way downhill from there.
posted by jmd82 at 10:24 AM on June 4, 2007


So aacheson, in what other circumstances do you want to punish people for the actions of others? Can I go beat someone up because their parents keyed my car?
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:26 AM on June 4, 2007


jmd82, the problem is that in those circumstances, the larger lady and the next guy in line would have been denied their diplomas, adding insult to injury (actually, adding injury to insult, but you get the point).
posted by deanc at 10:28 AM on June 4, 2007


Heh. Another heretic tripped-up by the double-secret kneel-sit-kneel-stand dance.

Off-topic, but that reminds me of the time I went to mass with my college roommate. Having been brought up Southern Baptist and never previously even seen the inside of a Catholic church beyond the movies, I thought I was on another planet. There was chanting and kneeling and some swingy-smoky thing, and everybody did everything at exactly the same time. I'm a little more cultured, now, but at the time, I half expected naked people in half-masks to assemble before the congregation and... you know. Do things.
posted by katillathehun at 10:35 AM on June 4, 2007 [4 favorites]


The obvious solution to the names being drowned out problem is for parents to give their kids more appropriate names, like "Woot" or "Yay" or "Aaaaaaaaaah!"
posted by brain_drain at 10:43 AM on June 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


I don't agree with punishing the students. Forcibly ejecting the parents, though? Sign me up; fuck, I'd help carry.

One of the angriest moments I ever felt was at my brother's high school graduation, when the principal of the school asked for a moment of silence for a girl who would have been graduating that year. She was killed in a car accident. Okay, actually, she was hit by a car and then died in the emergency room about eight hours of surgery later.

There was no moment of silence, because half the fucking audience was getting up to leave, since it was the next to last item on the agenda before the announcement they graduated.

A seventeen-year-old girl. Eight hours suffering in the OR. Sorry, kid, people need to get to their cars. We heard our kid's name.

It still has a lasting effect on how angry that moment made me. But it's all those little moments where people think they're special, that they're magical, that the rules just don't apply to them. When some asshole double parks or takes up two spots so no one dings their H2, or those dumbfucks pretend the guy on the movie screen will hear them if they yell loud enough, or I get that stupid glurge e-mail about the kid who pretended to sneeze so everyone would say "god bless you" as a way to tell the athiest kid to go fuck himself, I just pause for a moment and marvel at how so many people have gotten by in this world without ever having the shit completely beaten out of them.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:51 AM on June 4, 2007 [18 favorites]


5. People need to have a little self control. They were told far ahead of time that this was the consequence and yet their families and friends did it anyway. People, there are certain societal restraints that exist-whether or not you like them, there they are.

Another Internet Hard Ass here, I see. Yeah, let's teach those kids a lesson about self-control because someone else did something against the rules. That'll really teach them a good lesson, and not that the administrators are complete morons.
posted by Mikey-San at 10:52 AM on June 4, 2007


There is no crime to small or punishment too harsh for small-minded authoritarians. Gawd I hated high school.
posted by lordrunningclam at 10:55 AM on June 4, 2007 [4 favorites]


Menomena writes "Maybe there are reasons why you'd need your high school diploma in the future, but I can't think of any"

For high school, I can't either, but when applying for my work visa in Japan, I needed to submit the original of my university diploma. Not a copy, and not an affidavit affirming that I had graduated, but the actual paper diploma.

katillathehun writes "There was chanting and kneeling and some swingy-smoky thing, and everybody did everything at exactly the same time."

That's just what it looked like at first glance. In reality, there was about a 0.5 second skew from the first-kneelers to the last-kneelers. Basically (from my 16 years of Catholic church experience), about 15% of the people know when to kneel, stand, etc., another 10% just follow along in the programme (I don't know what it's actually called, but the prayer-book-thing they pass out has the flow, indicating when to sit, stand, etc.), and the other 75% are just very used to kneeling immediately when they see others start to kneel.
posted by Bugbread at 10:55 AM on June 4, 2007


This is lame - they totally punished the wrong people. Punish the shouters. People who act out in public should be shot on the spot. Of course the enforcers would have to use silencers so all the whiny parents could still hear their precious snowflakes names over the gunfire...
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:56 AM on June 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


They need to start using big billboards/tv screens/placards. After all, you can drown out the auditory announcement of a name with auditory cheering, but I've never seen someone cheer so loud that a sign becomes illegible.
posted by Bugbread at 10:59 AM on June 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


These are high school graduates, not PHd.s, bugbread. They haven't learned to read yet.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:01 AM on June 4, 2007 [5 favorites]


People who make noise in public outside of sporting events are trash. So are their poison brood. If the school had hired thugs with clubs and snipers to keep them quiet, you wouldn't hear me complaining.

The loud assholes have already won. They're more aggressive at breeding. And they probably make a lot of stupid noises while doing that, too.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:07 AM on June 4, 2007 [4 favorites]


The loud assholes have already won. They're more aggressive at breeding. And they probably make a lot of stupid noises while doing that, too.

LOL.
posted by delmoi at 11:09 AM on June 4, 2007


I guess I can understand enforcing the no-cheering rule, although I find it pretty lame myself but I think it's absolutely ridiculous that the graduates have to perform eight hours of community service before they can receive their diplomas. Not only were they denied an important part of the ceremony but they have to do eight hours CS as well? For something they didn't actually do?

I say in the future have the family members sign the contract, give the graduates their diplomas and make the people who actually disrupted the ceremony do the time.
posted by LeeJay at 11:10 AM on June 4, 2007


Regarding the racism thing...in my high school (in Oakland)-across the board the kids who got the loudest, longest, and most disturbing and obnoxious cheers were black students. It was almost embarassing how obvious it was. People were thinking...here comes another black kid...prepare yourself for 5 minutes of chaos. So I find it hard to believe that it was that evil racism rearing its' ugly head again.

More like celebrating beating the odds:

"The national graduation rate for the class of 1998 was 71%. For white students the rate was 78%, while it was 56% for African-American students and 54% for Latino students."

"Sixteen of the 50 largest school districts failed to graduate more than half of their African-American students.... Only five districts are unable to graduate more than half of their white students."

At my graduation, only a little noise was grudgingly tolerated (but broke the rules), and the noise tended to come from black families. I went to school in Memphis, where 42% of all students graduate. 39% of black students graduate. The district is 87% black.
posted by Tehanu at 11:10 AM on June 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Prospective Employer: "And why don't you have a high school diploma?"

Job Applicant: "Because my parents cheered for me at the graduation ceremony."

Yeah, that makes sense.
posted by amyms at 11:10 AM on June 4, 2007


It's just a sheet of paper. I don't know what college applications are like in the US but here in Ontario (possibly all of Canada) they just need your transcript,

When I applied for a job with the federal government (Canadian), they didn't want a transcript: the only thing they would accept was the paper diploma.

So yes, it might be important.
posted by watsondog at 11:11 AM on June 4, 2007


These imaginary Denial of Diploma attacks are unlikely.

At many, if not most, high school graduations, there are a limited number of seats. why would somebody deprive Grandma of her seat so they could bring a plant to get revenge one last time on Biff?

In this case:
The families don't deny that they were loud and disruptive!! they only say that it didn't go on for very long, and that others were doing it too. All high school kids know that "I wasn't as loud as them" and "they were doing it too" aren't defenses.
posted by Megafly at 11:12 AM on June 4, 2007


If your friends shouted off a bridge, would you do it, too?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:13 AM on June 4, 2007


Is McDonald guilty if their customers eat quantitatevely too much McCrap? NO !
If McParents yell on top of their lungs as if they were at the market, is the Mcgraduate guilty ? NO !
posted by elpapacito at 11:17 AM on June 4, 2007


Bullsh-t power grab by otherwise impotent administrators. This is nothing new; I actually skipped my graduation ceremony (27 years ago) for this very reason, because the school felt extortion was justified. Doesn't that set a fine example for our future leaders?
posted by mbrutsch at 11:25 AM on June 4, 2007


posted by Mayor Curley The loud assholes have already won.

The bigger the asshole, the louder and stinkier the fart.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:30 AM on June 4, 2007


The same standard should also apply to the mega-eager parents who muscle their way to the front to get pics and movies because their cretinous wonder is graduating. That way, the punisment will disproportionately fall on people of the 'wealthier, more tech-savvy' racial persuasions (in the US, and esp in California).
posted by Azaadistani at 11:30 AM on June 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Who wants to be a W when you've got a class of 2,000?

Who wants to be a W, period?
posted by oncogenesis at 11:47 AM on June 4, 2007


I completely missed the call for NFL commissioner auditions.
posted by srboisvert at 11:57 AM on June 4, 2007


Megafly, why do you assume you would need to replace Grandma with a plant? My late grandmother would cheered with gusto for the poor schmuck I meant to set up, if I had asked her to and explained why.
posted by stevis23 at 12:11 PM on June 4, 2007


XQUZYPHYR, that was awesome.
posted by deanc at 12:17 PM on June 4, 2007


ye gods. add reason #452 for why we are better off homeschooling.

schools keep getting bigger, and administrators see this as a fairly legit reason to get more controlling. hence, time to find our own way out of the mess.
posted by RedEmma at 12:22 PM on June 4, 2007


It's Raining Florence Henderson writes "If your friends shouted off a bridge, would you do it, too?"

No, but suicide is illegal, so if they all jumped off, you might get arrested for being friends of someone who committed suicide.
posted by Bugbread at 12:32 PM on June 4, 2007


Well, if disruptions are really a problem, it might be reasonable to require an hour or two of detention/study hall before handing over the diploma. But 8 hours of community service surely seems too much.
posted by washburn at 12:42 PM on June 4, 2007


You've got to hand it to school administrators who can find one more way to crush the spirits of their inmates post graduation. Lucifer is pleased.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:50 PM on June 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


ye gods. add reason #452 for why we are better off homeschooling.

Not really, when my little sister graduated from home schooled tenth grade after getting out the hospital, I hooted and hollered for a good seven minutes. Shelly couldn't hear her name at all. Principal Dad had me ejected from the ceremony and locked in the garage. I got out and stole the family minivan and went on a cross-country cheering spree before being brought down by sheriff's deputies outside a kindergarden spelling bee.

The restraining order doesn't allow me within 50 yards of award or graduation ceremonies now, but that doesn't stop me from writing letters to correspondence school graduates in bright red marker and puffy paint over a big picture of myself.

Man's gotta keep busy.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 12:53 PM on June 4, 2007 [14 favorites]


Is that true?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:55 PM on June 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I barely even remember my high school graduation, and I gave the valedictory speech. Clearly an "important, solemn occasion" in my life. As for "honor and dignity," they were going to play some sappy 80s goodbye song as the recessional until "someone" (cough) gave the principal a CD with the Imperial March on it instead. It's hard to believe how seriously some people take these things.

Deal with the problem the same way you'd deal with disruptive fans at any other event: escort them out and let the show go on. Explain the proper etiquette in the program and accept a reasonable amount of cheering. Leave the kids out of it unless they're dancing all over the stage.
posted by wtdoor at 1:02 PM on June 4, 2007


Note: In future sporting events, a baseball player whose fans cheer for him too loudly will be ejected from play.
posted by Bugbread at 1:18 PM on June 4, 2007


If you were a parent at the beginning, wouldn't you enjoy getting escorted out so you miss the rest?
posted by agregoli at 1:24 PM on June 4, 2007


The solution is obvious: public access TV graduation. No audience, no ceremony. Just the principal reading graduates' names at a specified time and channel. Then everybody can stay at home and watch or not as they see fit.
posted by yesster at 2:02 PM on June 4, 2007


Who wants to be a W, period?

I got a thhppfft! for you, bucko. You'll have to walk to the seat in the back right hand side of the room to pick it up, though. Goddamned assigned alphabetical seating....

When I read all these responses saying this is perfectly okay because the offense sucks I begin to understand why fo many people have no problem with TSA policies. It doesn't matter if the response makes any sense, there's a real problem to react to! Noises bad so punish the people who weren't making them!
posted by phearlez at 2:31 PM on June 4, 2007


goddamned softheaded and weird and authoritarian

That right there is the definition of the high school experience.
posted by Foosnark at 2:48 PM on June 4, 2007


Note: In future sporting events, a baseball player whose fans cheer for him too loudly will be ejected from play. --bugbread

The NFL (and I think college football too) used to have a five yard penalty for excessive crowd noise. Seems just as silly to me.
posted by Bugg at 3:10 PM on June 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


All the graduations I've attended there's usually a 20 second gap until they announce the next name while the first person has to walk all the way across the stage to shake the hands of some big wigs and get their shiny peice of paper.

I cheer during this gap. No one misses out on hearing their dearest's name and it brings a little excitement into an entirely boring experience for pretty much all involved.

If you can't get your cheering done during that time then you suck at self-control.

(Although it is fun to watch the announcer stumble over the international students names)
posted by liquorice at 3:22 PM on June 4, 2007


"...in what other circumstances do you want to punish people for the actions of others?"

The hooters and hollerers were guests. They were there at the invitation of the students. Next fall, when they hold their first kegger, those students are going to be held responsible for the obnoxious drunks they invited peeing off their balcony. They may as well get used to the treatment now.
posted by klarck at 3:29 PM on June 4, 2007


In Italy, during graduation ceremony, always indoor, no noise is tolerated.
posted by giuonline at 3:31 PM on June 4, 2007


All the graduations I've attended there's usually a 20 second gap until they announce the next name while the first person has to walk all the way across the stage to shake the hands of some big wigs and get their shiny peice of paper.

20 s * 1000 students = 20000 s = ~5.6 hr

At least the commencement speech would seem relatively short. *shudder*
posted by Bugg at 4:06 PM on June 4, 2007


As for "honor and dignity," they were going to play some sappy 80s goodbye song as the recessional until "someone" (cough) gave the principal a CD with the Imperial March on it instead.

...So, did they play it?

The hooters and hollerers were guests. They were there at the invitation of the students. Next fall, when they hold their first kegger, those students are going to be held responsible for the obnoxious drunks they invited peeing off their balcony. They may as well get used to the treatment now.

Exactly how much choice do you think most of them had in who they "invited" to the graduation? Their parents would expect to be "invited," and so (probably) would their grandparents, if there were enough seats. And it's not like they can just pretend they aren't allowed to have anyone there. Are you seriously expecting any high schooler to really be able to say, "Sorry, mom, dad, you can't come to my graduation. I just don't think you can behave yourselves. By the way, can I borrow the car so I can get there?"

Anyway, they should just split it up into two ceremonies. One solemn one, and one where cheering, hijinx, etc., is allowed. And you only get to attend one, but you choose which one--and there's a sign-up period where you can see how many people are signing up for each (you know, in case you just want the shortest possible ceremony).
posted by Many bubbles at 4:10 PM on June 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


phearlez writes "When I read all these responses saying this is perfectly okay because the offense sucks I begin to understand why fo many people have no problem with TSA policies. It doesn't matter if the response makes any sense, there's a real problem to react to! Noises bad so punish the people who weren't making them!"

Yeah, I didn't say it, but that's the vibe I've been getting. I'm a little (actually, a lot) surprised that so many MeFites are taking the "There's a problem, and something must be done, so punish someone! It doesn't matter if the people being punished aren't the same people doing stuff wrong! They're somehow associated with them, and being associated with a person doing something bad is good enough reason for punishment!" line.
posted by Bugbread at 4:34 PM on June 4, 2007


In Italy, during graduation ceremony, always indoor, no noise is tolerated.

...and in Soviet Russia, graduation ceremony disrupts you!

(Sorry, I couldn't help myself.)
posted by The Tensor at 4:34 PM on June 4, 2007


I attended graduation at my alma mater, a private, Catholic, all-girls school, not too long ago. Just before she began announcing the names of the graduates, Sister the Principal requested that everyone hold their applause "because each girl deserves personal gratification."

I guess the families agreed, because they were a very well-behaved group.
posted by chihiro at 5:27 PM on June 4, 2007


Pope Guilty writes "There are few ceremonies I loathe more than commencement. Catholic-style weddings, possibly."

Hence the guilt?

emjaybee writes "Who wants to be a W when you've got a class of 2,000?"

It really sucked.
posted by Mitheral at 5:33 PM on June 4, 2007


"Exactly how much choice do you think most of them had..."

I know, I know. But really, at the ceremony, is the parents' status that of honored guest or paid, ticket-holding fan at a stadium event? Their tax dollars and child-rearing expenses nothwithstanding, I prefer to think it's the former.
posted by klarck at 6:00 PM on June 4, 2007


Many bubbles writes "...So, did they play [the Imperial March]?"

Oh yes. They didn't even have to be tricked into doing it. I think they were glad to have something different.
posted by wtdoor at 7:06 PM on June 4, 2007


See I think they should do the opposite. They should announce the graduates like they used to announce the Jordan era Bulls. With lights, music, and full bravado from the master of ceremonies.
posted by PreteFunkEra at 7:34 PM on June 4, 2007


For high school, I can't either, but when applying for my work visa in Japan, I needed to submit the original of my university diploma. Not a copy, and not an affidavit affirming that I had graduated, but the actual paper diploma.

I've had to do that for several jobs. High school diploma, however... I think once, and I was really surprised at the request.

Basically (from my 16 years of Catholic church experience), about 15% of the people know when to kneel, stand, etc...

What's fun in later life is visiting an interdenominational church. It's not just the mix of practices, but everybody checking everyone else out.

*genuflects*

"Ah... Catholic."

The callousness with which people seem to want to punish someone -- anyone -- for something that annoys them doesn't seem so different to me to the callousness of those who think they're little Jimmy is special enough to warrant the drowning out of another student's name. ie: "fairness be damned"

Fits high school, all right.
posted by dreamsign at 7:55 PM on June 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I know, I know. But really, at the ceremony, is the parents' status that of honored guest or paid, ticket-holding fan at a stadium event? Their tax dollars and child-rearing expenses nothwithstanding, I prefer to think it's the former.

"Compulsory guests" was actually my point, which you so nicely ignored in favor of the "ticket-holding fans" comparison that... I didn't make.

If anything, they're "honored guests" of the school itself, since the school hosts the ceremony and decides how many people get invited, and the students don't actually have much of a choice about who "their" guests are.

Punishing the students for the actions of people whose presence they didn't have a choice about is just ridiculous.
posted by Many bubbles at 8:44 PM on June 4, 2007


Fuck graduations. At my HS one, my whole row was hammered (everyone brought something different and planned it all the day before at the practice). At the college one, I was high as a kite.
About 2 people cheered for me at my HS one, but more laughed when I damn near busted my ass walking down the slippery stairs. In college, apparently people yelled 'bangin!' for me.

I've heard people cheer for inappropriate lengths, but most of the time, people cheer right after the speaker finishes reading the name until the next name is read. At my college ceremony, there was a set length for names, which made it easier to figure out.

But seriously? Punishing the students for the parents fuckup? Way to go HS administrators. You really showed us just how tiny your dicks are.
posted by sperose at 10:06 PM on June 4, 2007


I don't remember a damn thing about who cheered and who didn't at my college graduation. All I remember is:

1) I was wearing pajamas under my gown.
2) I brought my Neo-Geo Pocket Color to play during the speeches.
3) I dissed the president by refusing to shake his hand when I picked up the diploma.

I remember even less about my high school graduation.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:21 AM on June 5, 2007


THIS IS A GREAT THREAD! YEAH!
*blows air horn*

/oneineverycrowdfilter
posted by Smedleyman at 12:48 PM on June 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


I find this completely unacceptable and just another rule of authority that schools hang over kids and their parents.

My high school graduating class [about 250 of us] was so rowdy in the pre-graduation that the administration threatened to cancel graduation. We all stood up and turned our seats around so that they could only see our backs. They knew they were in for a fight so they let us be. During the ceremony we had a beach ball going the whole time.

For college we passed champagne around and cheered a lot. [Okay, this was all in the '80's].

In both instances few students seemed upset. Some parents were not happy - but so what. It wasn't their graduation.
Times have changed. Now it's all about the school and their rules.
posted by Rashomon at 5:38 PM on June 5, 2007


Times have changed. Now it's all about the school and their rules.

yup
posted by taosbat at 11:51 PM on June 5, 2007


Update: School reverses 'no diplomas for cheering' decision
via CNN
posted by sperose at 9:44 PM on June 6, 2007


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