It is the season of fresh-faced teenagers and young excited college grads making their way across numerous stages to proudly grasp their diplomas. A tangible seal of approved academic achievement: a requirement to successfully move on to the next step--whatever that may be.
Parents beam with even more exuberance in halls and outdoor "grad central" to see their children achieve what they had worked 12 to 14 years and more towards.
So I am sure one mother was shocked when she was arrested because that exuberance spilled over into louder cheering than was allowed.
Shannon Cooper, whose daughter attended South Florence High School in South Carolina, was attending her graduation on Saturday, when she was arrested for cheering too loudly. Others were reportedly also escorted from the Florence Civic Center where the ceremony was held.
According to the local television station WPDE's website, Cooper was handcuffed and taken to the police station, just for being unable to contain her joy at seeing daughter Iesha get her diploma. After hollering loudly to let everyone know how tickled pink she was at her child's success, the school officials called out the "calvary."
In fairness, the principal had asked that the audience hold all applause until the end of the ceremony, warning that any violators would be arrested. This strict no appplause policy usually reserved for college graduation , was apparently embraced by some parents for they called the cheering mom and those who were thrown out "disgraceful." I have seen parents clap despite the silence-till-the-end warning but has never witnessed any arrests because of it.
As the mother of a soon-to-graduate teenager, who is at this very moment vying for prom King, I understand both sides--those wanting to enjoy the entire ceremony and not have some in the audience overshadow others--especially students who may have troubled homes, with not much in the way of supportive family members there for them.
But I also understand some parents being so proud that they want to show their children that pride. To be arrested--to criminalize that -- is very troubling to me. Society berate parents who do not show up for those many school teacher/parent conferences. We slam those who are MIA for most, if not all of the PTA meetings, School Leadership Teams, soccer amd basketball games and other extra curricular activities then turn around and punish those who are loudly present?
Shouldn't we celebrate that rather than curtail it?
Now Iesha will forever remember a day that was suppose to be a celebration as the day her mom was arrested, hancuffed and driven off to jail.