The entire senior class at Chicago’s Ridgewood High School were denied their diplomas for throwing their graduation caps in the air despite warnings not to do so.
The school superintendent says cap-throwing is not dignified and he would rather “not have graduates leaving with cuts and black eyes.” Although some students did not throw their caps in the air, not a single one received a diploma during the Tuesday commencement.
School administrators are demanding a public apology from the students who broke the rule with their “disrespectful” behavior.
“Now, this may not seem like a big thing to most, but I would like to speak to why we think it is. First of all, our staff goes to great pains to make the ceremony a dignified event,” wrote superintendent Dr. Robert Lupo on his blog. "The gym is decorated; people dress up (some of them); we expect dignified behavior. Secondly, it is an indoor event. In past ceremonies, people have been hit by flying caps."
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How could anyone be surprised when the school mascot is the Rebels? In fact, Lupo’s blog is entitled “The Rebel Yell."
"It was kind of silly that they would request them not to," parent Mary Sticha told NBC Chicago. "It wasn't a way to disrespect anyone, it was just a way to do something together and celebrate the end of the year."
"It was the perfect ending to the graduation, but unfortunately we didn't get our diplomas," graduating senior Andre Taraska told NBC Chicago.
"I just think it's really ridiculous. We worked so hard to get to this point," said senior Jackie Rios.
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Lupo said students who did not break the rules and want their diplomas can take their concerns to the students who threw their caps and ask them to make a public apology.
He wrote that "perhaps it is the final lesson they will take away from high school: there are consequences for behaviors in life."
Students will be able to pick up their diplomas if class representatives apologize at a June 4 school board meeting, according to NBC.