A Connecticut high school student says he is being kept from walking at his graduation ceremony because a quote he had printed in the school’s yearbook contained a hidden, profane message that upset school administrators.
Angel Torres, a senior at Sport and Medical Sciences Academy in Hartford, told WVIT News on Wednesday that the hidden message was spelled out by the capitalized first letters of some of the words in his quote.
“It didn't have anything bad,” Torres said. “It was just how the words were lined up.”
“SMSA has taught me valuable lessons, such as Friendship, Unity, Community, Kindness, Youth Optimism and Understanding,” read the quote that has now landed him in hot water with the school.
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“All the students, they saw the yearbook quote, spread it and it got to the teachers then eventually it went up to the principal himself,” Torres said.
He told WVIT that his family got a call from the school on Tuesday saying he wouldn’t be allowed to participate in Friday’s graduation ceremony.
His sister, Melissa Perez, said the hidden message is easy to miss.
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“Since he read it to me I didn't hear anything wrong with it. I said it's good,” she told WVIT.
She has since offered to write letters of apology to anyone who was offended by her brother’s quote.
But, so far, the school appears to be standing by its decision to keep Torres out of the graduation ceremony. He will still receive his diploma next week.
Hartford Public School officials reportedly declined to comment when WVIT reached out to them.
Torres’ situation is hardly unique.
Every year, as schools across the country prepare to graduate another class of seniors, a few pranksters make headlines by taking a joke too far, running afoul of school administrators, and thus getting banned from their graduation ceremonies.
This year, a Robbinsville, New Jersey, senior is being kept from walking because of his participation in a class squirt-gun fight that got out of control.
According to NJ.com, senior Chris Smith, opened a door to the school during the water gun fight and did not hear a warning from an administrator saying, “Don't open that door or else you won't be able to walk.”
And according to WTTG News, Brian Reminga, of Chopticon High School in Maryland, was barred from participating in his graduation ceremony this year for his alleged role in a senior prank that saw 72,000 lady bugs released inside the school building.
Photo Credit: Screen shot from WVIT News