UPDATE: Closed comments on this post after 300 remarks. (And about 200 more that I either blocked or took down.)
I have been surprised at the amount of manic cheering at the high school graduations that I’ve attended. In some cases, exuberant family members scream so loudly for their graduates that they drown at the names of the next students.
But this seems to go a bit far: Arresting a South Carolina mom for yelling too loudly at her daughter’s ceremony?
When I read these stories, I wonder if high school graduations are following the path of children’s sporting events where vociferous parents have been told to tone it down or leave the field.
But I understand the frustration of parents when their child’s name is lost to the applause and cheers for the prior graduate. I attended one ceremony where the procession of graduates had to be halted until the cheering relatives calmed down.
Beach balls and bullhorns are commonly banned from graduation ceremonies, but some schools also want to silence the screaming — going so far as to have overzealous audience members arrested.
That’s what reportedly happened to South Carolina mom Shannon Cooper, who was accused of whooping so loudly during her daughter’s high school graduation Saturday night that cops charged her with disorderly conduct and placed her in a detention center.
“Are ya’ll serious? Are ya’ll for real? I mean, that’s what I’m thinking in my mind,” Cooper told WPDE NewsChannel 15 in Myrtle Beach. “I didn’t say anything. I was just like OK, I can’t fight the law. “
Cooper said she didn’t act any differently than other families when their children’s names were called during the South Florence High School ceremony. Her daughter, Iesha, told WPDE she didn’t realize her mother was being arrested until her friends told her.
“They’re locking your momma up for cheering — and I was like that isn’t right because other people was cheering and they didn’t lock them up,” Iesha told the TV station.
Police reportedly warned parents that screaming would result in expulsion from the Florence Civic Center. Those who became disorderly as they were shown the exit were also arrested, officials said. That allegedly included Cooper, who was placed in a police van and then taken to a detention center. She was there for several hours before posting a $225 bond, according to WPDE.
“Yesterday can’t be replaced… My mama went to jail on my graduation day,” Iesha Cooper, 18, told the station.
It wasn’t jail but community service that student Anthony Cornist was reportedly handed after his graduation from Mt. Healthy Junior/Senior High School in Ohio. His family and supporters gave him such a rowdy reception that school officials denied him his diploma and told him he will have to perform 20 hours of community service before he can graduate, according to ABC 9 in Cincinnati.
“I will be holding your diploma in the main office due to the excessive cheering your guests displayed during the roll call,” principal Marlon Styles Jr. wrote to Cornist in a letter obtained by ABC 9. While the school didn’t respond to requests for comment, the senior said Monday he personally “did nothing wrong.”
The school is allowing Cornist to split the community service with his family, but his mother told ABC 9 the punishment is “ludicrous” and none of them would be doing it.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog