Jan Dennis, AP, June 7, 2007
Five students will get the diplomas they were denied when cheers erupted for them at a high school graduation, and school officials said Wednesday they would review a get-tough decorum policy.
Galesburg High School officials had said they would not hand over the keepsake diplomas unless they received apologies. But the stalemate over the diplomas and the media attention it attracted have taken valuable time and energy, they said.
The diplomas were withheld because the school said cheering violated a school policy aimed at restoring graduation decorum. The students still were considered graduates on paper, but they didn’t have a diploma.
Graduate Nadia Trent, who picked up her diploma from the school secretary Wednesday afternoon, said she’s “just happy it’s over.”
“If they would have apologized, it would have been better,” said Trent.
Denisar cited talks with the Illinois State Board of Education, which has said it cannot support the district’s decorum policy because it makes students responsible for behavior they cannot control, in explaining the decision.
Parent Pam Kelley said she was disappointed that school officials did not apologize and that her daughter, Amanda, was handed the diploma by a high school secretary, not principal Tom Chiles.
“At least he could have come out and shook her hand and said congratulations,” Kelley said.