Families Face Jail For Cheering Mississippi High School Grads, Lucky Not To Be Tased
Four people were ejected from a high school commencement ceremony in Senatobia, Mississippi, after breaking the rules and cheering for their graduating teens, because the school superintendent had said quite clearly that everyone should hold their applause until all the graduates' names had been announced. He said it right at the beginning and everyone knew the rules, but SOME PEOPLE just can't follow simple rules, now CAN THEY? And then, to emphasize the point, a week later, Senatobia Municipal School District Superintendent Jay Foster somehow managed to get a judge to issue warrants for the offenders' arrest on charges of Disturbing the Peace, because you Have To Set An Example. At least nobody prayed.
The stupid foofaraw started when 18-year-old Lanarcia Walker's name was called and her father, Henry Walker, shouted out "You did it, baby,” as she crossed the stage to receive her diploma. A video taken at the event shows the audience laughing, but this is no laughing matter, young man, this is a complete breakdown in order. Another woman, Ursula Miller, also got in trouble:
“When she went across the stage I just called her name out. ‘Lakaydra’. Just like that,” Ursula Miller said she shouted about her niece.
In all, four people were ejected from the ceremony, from at least two families, WREG-TV reporter Michael Quander explained to Yr. Wonkette. The real surprise came later, when the citations for "disturbing the peace" were served.
Officers issued warrants for their arrests with a possible $500 bond.
“It’s crazy,” Henry Walker said. “The fact that I might have to bond out of jail, pay court costs, or a $500 fine for expressing my love, it’s ridiculous man. It’s ridiculous.”
Superintendent Foster was quite firm in the rightness and justice of his cause, however. While he declined to be interviewed on-camera -- displaying at least a modicum of media savvy, we guess -- he told WREG that he was determined to keep order at graduation. It is unclear whether rubber bullets or tear gas are being considered for next year's commencement ceremony. Maybe they can have some guy get up and yell about abortion and climate changeor something.
Opinion on WREG's comments page was split, with almost everyone condemning the practice of hootin' and hollerin' at high school graduations, but with some disagreement about the need for formal charges -- the pro-arrest opinions seem to be in the majority. And then there were some very special people like the lady who said
Absolutely yes it is the right thing to do. If the animals can't shut up during ceremony then pay consequences. There should be two different graduations.
Just so you know it's Mississippi. And yes, the families are black, why do you ask?
We should note that at Kid Zoom's recent graduation from Boise High School, the problem of trying to silence several thousand parents was solved by providing a nice longish pause between each kid's name being called, with an announcement at the beginning reminding people to keep the celebratory shouting short so that every graduate's name was heard. With a class of about 400 kids, it took a while, but everyone got to yell for their little hellspawn and nobody got their nose out of joint. Obviously, we know nothing about commencement decorum here.
The Senatobia Four are due in court for an arraignment on June 9.