[guest post by Dana]
At Mississippi’s Senatobia High School graduation exercises last month and in attempt to ensure that all the graduates’ families could hear their loved one’s name being announced, Superintendent Jay Foster asked the audience to politely refrain from cheering and clapping until the end of the ceremony. After all, it was an event to recognize the graduates and their accomplishments:
Foster said one of the students who was walking across the stage during the disturbance actually flinched and looked upset when the cheering broke the silence.
“The look on her face when she was coming across the stage just reminded me, this is about the kids,” he said. “So many things these days, if I had to sum it up in a few words, it’s all about me. But this is not. This is about the graduates.”
When four people began to loudly cheer and scream for their graduate, they were asked to leave the ceremony. Because they disrupted the event, Foster also opted to press charges against the four adults:
“I did go and sign papers on them for disturbing the peace,” he said. “My point is not to have somebody have to pay money, but I want them to know there are consequences for their behavior, and I want us to have a dignified service.”
From Ursula Miller, one of the four charged:
“I can understand they can escort me out of the graduation, but to say they are going to put me in jail for it,” Miller said to WREG. “What else are they allowed to do?”
Foster explained his decision to press charges:
Foster said he didn’t think just removing them from the service would make the point. He said some of them were actually moving toward the door as they made noise. In addition, Foster said, it seemed as if they did it in defiance of the requests for respect as opposed to simply wanting to celebrate their graduates.
“I can never judge what’s in somebody’s heart. All I can act on is their actions,” he said. But that’s been said to me, that it looked like they did it on purpose.”
The four could face fines of up to $500 each and a sentence of up to six months in jail.
Ursula Miller is expected in court Tuesday.
UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Not everything has to be a crime.