ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo (KTVI) — Some parents in St. Louis County, Missouri, are fuming after their kids were turned away from their eighth-grade graduation ceremony. Parents said they brought their dressed-up kids to the ceremony to commemorate them graduating from Westview Middle School and going on to high school.
However, they said they were told that they couldn’t come in when they got to the door, while other students were allowed to pass. Students were blocked from the ceremony even though they were graduating and going to high school.
One of the parents, Minyatta Simmons, said she didn’t like that at all. “This is a moment that they have to remember. You have four graduations: kindergarten, eighth grade, high school and college,” she said. “Why rob them of that privilege?”
Another mother, Lateasha Grant, was also as angry that her daughter was not being allowed into the event on Wednesday. ”Honestly, my baby missing out on this experience and the tears coming out of her eyes,” she said. “The embarrassment that she felt having the staff talk to her like she was an illegitimate person walking down the street, not a student of this establishment.”
However, the school district has a different take. They said they handed students and parents a list of no no’s like poor attendance, fighting, and other misdeeds that kept students from being able to attend the promotion ceremony. The superintendent said students and kids were updated as they went along and should have known whether or not they could attend.
“Schools do have policies and procedures that we ask all of our young people to abide by—whatever school—not just Riverview Gardens, but in all school districts,” said Dr. Joylynn Pruitt-Adams, Riverview Gardens School District superintendent. “There will be points in time where that may not be to the parent’s pleasure that a student is removed or not allowed to participate in an activity.”
Parents said they still don’t like it. “I feel like she was robbed. I was robbed as well because that was her moment,” one said.
In a statement, a Riverview School District representative said, in part: “While we understand that this may have been a disappointment to the parents, it is important that all scholars meet the attendance, tardiness, academic and discipline requirements set in school and District policy… We believe that our staff was courteous and respectful to all comers. We also cannot corroborate the claims of any eligible student being turned away at the door. However, we look forward to working with our scholars, parents, staff and community to help all students meet the academic, behavioral and attendance requirements for future events.”