It's A Graduation, Not A Football Game!

I can't tell you how many graduations I have attended where parents and other family members are screaming and hollering when their student's name is called. I always feel sorry for the next person in line because no one hears that person's name. The graduation official will most likely stop calling names until the family quiets down. This causes the already long graduation to be extended even longer, every time they have to stop. Where is the respect? Where is the common courtesy?

Schools are getting tough and demanding graduation decorum. In 2007 the Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent told parents that the graduation was not a party or a pep rally. They had police officers at the graduation to remove anyone who cheered when the graduate's name was called.

Earlier this month, a graduate from Mt. Healthy School in Cincinnati, received a letter instead of his diploma. The letter stated that he and/or his family members needed to complete 20 hours of community service before he would receive his diploma because the family's cheering was a disruption to the graduation ceremony. Prior to the graduation a letter was sent to the parents indicating the rules and the parents were required to sign the letter indicating that they understood what would happen.

At Jane Addams Junior High in Schaumburg, Illinois, four students were refused their diplomas when they went on stage. Apparently, when they entered the graduation, their cheering sections were too loud. As a result, the teens had to pick up their diplomas at the school office.

A mother in South Carolina was arrested at her daughter's graduation for cheering. Everyone was told that they would be removed if they cheered during the ceremony. One mother disagreed with the rule. She cheered anyway because she felt entitled to show support for her daughter. The mother said that she had gone through so much to get her daughter to this point. She wanted to let her daughter know that she was proud of her.

Dr. Joyce Kenner, principal at Whitney Young Magnet High School here in Chicago runs a tight ship. Her students walk across the stage to a silent audience. If there is a disruption, Dr. Kenner stops the ceremony and announces that she will have people kicked out of the graduation ceremony. "I'm a stickler for decorum," she said. "We don't mind you cheering at the proper time. You can do whatever you want after the ceremony."

Parents need to learn to follow and respect the rules of schools. Graduations are supposed to be a joyous time for families. Every parent is happy and excited about their child graduating and they can't wait to hear their name called and to see them walk accross the stage. I get it! However, parents need to understand that there is a time and place for everything. Parents need to stop treating graduations like football games. You can't just yell and scream for your team at a graduation because it is rude and disrepectful to the other students whose parents are waiting to hear their names called.

If your child's school has rules regarding behavior at graduations, please abide by those rules. Choosing not to abide by those rules, indicates that you are willing to accept the consequences. All of the parents in these situations had prior warnings and they chose not to adhere to them.

Don't be bad parents by getting kicked out of your child's graduation or by causing your child's diploma to be delayed. Just remember, it's a graduation, not a football game!


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  • Great post today! I recently attended my daughter's 8th grade promotion (graduation) and was appalled by the behavior of the parents in the audience.
    The cheering and stomping was so loud that it was difficult to hear the other names being called. What a horrible example these parents set for everyone in attendance!

  • Thanks! My daughter's graduation is Tuesday and I am keeping my fingers crossed.

  • Yes and the ones who are cheering the loudest are doing so because they know that that's the end of the line for their little geniuses.

  • In reply to Tzippo:

    What an awful thing to say.

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    It was awful, since some of these geniuses aren't so little...some are actually quite large.

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    She is right Jimmy. Have you seen how crazy people are for kindergarten graduations?

  • In reply to Tracy A. Stanciel:

    You serious? I don't think anyone is talking about a silly, harmless and QUICK kindergarten "graduation." Cheer, hoot, do whatever for those.

    Anyway, I took her sarcastic "little geniuses" as a disparaging remark towards those kids. As if those idiot H.S. grads won't lead productive lives.

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    Jimmy I agree with her disparaging remark because most of the time it's the kids who barely passed their classes whose parents are acting up.

  • In reply to Tracy A. Stanciel:

    So that's the "end of the line" for them? That's just an awful thing to say about an 18-year-old.

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    I'm not saying that's the end of the line for them but it might be their last graduation.

  • In reply to Tzippo:

    LOL!! You are so right. These people will never see another graduation so maybe we should cut them some slack. NOT!!!

  • When my kids graduated high school there were similar rules and I remember many rude families cheering for their graduates. With around 1,000 graduates each year even a small percentage of inconsiderate parents can add 15-20 minutes to the event.

    But I also remember something cute that the students did to (sort of) get around the no-cheering rule. For as long as they could sustain it, the graduates would clap, in unison, one time, as each of their classmates' names were read. It helped to break the silence, gave everyone a giggle, and didn't interrupt the ceremony.

    But I'm not sure I'm in a position to complain. When I graduated high school (1973) the ceremony was interrupted by marijuana smoke, exploding firecrackers and bouncing beach balls - as well as some off-script comments from graduates who read students' names during the ceremony. The next graduating class felt the backlash of our behavior as the administration cracked down on "fun" at graduation.

    My recollection is that our parents were embarrassed by our behavior. Now, students are (or should be) embarrassed by their parents' behavior.

  • In reply to Ed Nickow:

    Ed I agree with you about the time. Graduations are boring and long and they should not be dragged out by cheering sections.

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    I have had this argument many times with mother, who is a principal. Why is it only acceptable to cheer and express your excitement at a sporting event? It is completely meaningless whether or not someone dunks a ball or runs across a goal line. I work with my son every night with his homework, much more than I work with him on his baseball throw, so why shouldn't I be able to cheer for him when it is his time for graduation.

  • In reply to Roger Guerrero:

    The problem with the cheering is that the next person after your kid doesn't have the opportunity for his parents to hear his name called. If parents are given time to cheer for their kid, graduations would take five or six hours long.

  • In reply to Roger Guerrero:

    Cheer at the end - for everyone. They did just as much of a job as your kid did. And what is wrong with telling him face-to-face or in a heartfelt card how proud you are of him?

    It seems that parents think the louder you cheer, the more you love your kid. In 20 years, he won't remember you cheered the loudest (and maybe embarassed him). He'll remember your talk. or the card.

  • Love this. And agree wholeheartedly. Like you said, there's a time and a place for everything. The mother who wanted to show her daughter how proud she was could have done it in a way that didn’t also teach her it's okay to throw common courtesy for others out the window.

  • In reply to Adam Oestmann:

    There is no consideration for the next person. It's awful the way people yell and scream while the next name is being called.

  • Here's a news flash for one cares that your little pwecious "graduated" from preschool, kindergarten, middle school, high school, etc. but you (well, maybe the grandparents). Your kid is not any more special than any other kid walking across that stage. Keep a lid on the clapping, shouting etc. and then everyone can get across the stage in a timely manner and then you have the entire rest of your life to over-celebrate the simplest of accomplishments.

  • In reply to yarnzzz:

    Well said!!!

  • This is what happens when you have a couple of generations that have been told that you can never have too much self-esteem.

    Of course they think little Chas or Buffy are rock stars, just like the parents think they are special, because they were told over and over again by society and parents that they were.

    Just email the damned diploma and be done with it, before the Self-Esteemer-in-Chief shows up to deliver the commencement speech.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    You are correct about the self esteem. Parents today don't think you can have too much.

  • Some people are more exuberant than others. What's the harm? A few more minutes out of your life? Really?

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    It's not a matter of time, really. It's like a cheering contest. I love little Buffy more than you can possibly love your little toad, so I will demonstrate that point -- loudly and often. Way too often. Way, way, too often.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    The harm is that you have ill-equipped your child to deal with the disappointments and letdowns of life if you celebrate every little thing like it's the first time man landed on the moon.

    And you're just pissing off everyone around you as they can't hear their own little pwecious' name being read.

  • In reply to yarnzzz:

    Great point! I have a daughter that will be graduating from elementary school next week. She actually said that she didn't understand why everyone at her school was so excited about an elementary school graduation because you are supposed to graduate from elementary school and high school. She felt as though college graduation should be a big deal.

  • In reply to Tracy A. Stanciel:

    Not sure, but I think my grade school graduation consisted of a Mass. No cheering. High school was outside on the football bleachers. I didn't want to go, even. I was done. My parent's insisted, but they did not stand on the chairs and cheer. (I think they silently wept because they probably thought it was the end of the line for me. College graduation was held in a circus, Medina Temple. You could still smell the elephant poop. Still no cheering for the newly-capped Einstein's. Again, tears of joy that they would have the house free and Young Einstein would be off to bent time space.

    This all started to accelerate when parents started saying "I love you" before, during, and after each meeting with their young spawn.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    "I love you before, during and after each meeting with their spawn". This is a valid point about the behavior of parents today. They are so into their kids that nothing and no one else matters.

  • In reply to Tracy A. Stanciel:

    The whole "I love you", affirmed the top of every minute when parent and child are together, suggests almost the opposite, or that their has to be a verbal contract assuring the same.

    I knew my parents loved me. Why else would they have denied me almost everything I asked for? They knew I loved them, too, even though as a teenager I pretended they did not exist. Had I gone around saying "ILY" at the top of every hour, my parents would have had me sent to the place with the straight-jackets.

    Enough of America's Got Cheering Parents. Just get the piece of paper and have Buffy and Chas get on with life, where there will be fewer cheerleaders.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Man, I wish you could edit these posts. Jimmy, what about it?

  • What exactly is the harm ?. Someone, maybe a few people cheer what is the exact harm, You want to throw people in jail, have them perform community service for what. A few seconds of exuberance. Again explain the harm. I guess we should all think,act, dress alike. We should obey all the rules all the time . So lets lighten up and not take everything so damn seriously .

  • In reply to ironmik:

    I thinking maybe the "hot shot" for those parents who yell too much?

    There, iron, is that so damned not serious?

    The point is the "why" of the cheering, not the cheering itself.
    Go home and cheer little Buff and Chas in backyard. Rah, rah! Now get on with life.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Well said!

  • In reply to ironmik:

    The point is, Einstein, that there are rules that were clearly set down prior to the event. You think you are too good or too important or too whatever to follow the rules, you have to submit to whatever the consequences are of breaking said rules.

    Life isn't always about you, buddy.

  • In reply to yarnzzz:

    I could not have said it better.

  • In reply to ironmik:

    There are rules my friend. These parents are indicating to their kids that they are not required to abide by the rules.

  • One of two Friday graduations had cheering, the other didn't. Different venues and ceremonies but the cheering didn't detract. Kids and parents cheered, and the kids cheered for everyone. Race, sex, ethnicitiy, it didn't matter because the least seemed to get cheered the loudest and those with a "posse" cheered for others. A lot of fun.

    Admittedly, if there were a thousand graduates the program would have ran longer but the administration was intent upon it being a short ceremony.

  • It seems as though you were lucky enough to attend two civilized graduations. I am keeping my fingers crossed because my daughter graduates on Tuesday.

  • I have been to many graduations. When people cheer so loudly, it is a sign of desperation. I hope they arrest and fine these disruptive and rude family members.

  • In reply to GeorgeTyrebyter:

    It's almost as if they think that the diploma will be taken away if they don't cheer loud enough.

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    It's a year since my youngest daughter graduated from U of C. In 1999, my eldest graduated from UMASS, Amherst. I like the American informal ceremony as compared to the sedate and formal one we had in Malaysia and the UK.

  • Does anyone else think being punished for cheering is absurd? I wouldn't want to go to a party with any of you rude, fun killers. With all the heavy stuff going on in the world, I don't see why cheering at a joyous event is a big deal. It appears you all are more focused on getting out of there as fast as you can rather than relaxing and enjoying the occasion.

  • In reply to ShelleyJ:

    They were told multiple times that these are the rules. All places have rules. We don't have to like them, and we may not agree with them but they need to be followed.

    Breaking the rules just shows these impressionable kids that "rules don't matter to us". Which is wrong. I suspect that it came to this because a lot of previous bad apples.

    What's wrong with holding the cheers till the end and appreciating ALL the graduates - respectfully?

  • In reply to goofyjj:

    Thank you, I have nothing to add.

  • C'mon, let he parent's cheer, their kids made it through a Chicago school and graduated without 1) Getting shot 2) getting kicked out 3) getting pregnant 4) Impregnating someone 5) Shooting someone else...

    These kids deserve some credit because we know most of them had to do it on their own without any help from their parents.

  • In reply to asChitown:

    You sound like a suburbanite! Don't be so hard on Chicago schools :)

  • In reply to asChitown:

    You sound like a suburbanite! Don't be so hard on Chicago schools.

  • to all the people asking "what's the harm" - there is not exact harm HOEWEVER these are the rules. Follow them or there are consequences. We get it - your crotchfruit got thru Don't Eat Paste 101 or maybe it was an actual graduation for a HS Diploma... you know what? So did all these other peoples' kids.....

    Graduation is for those kids that got thru the year, not for you to show how much you love them by screaming louder than the person next to you. If you love them so much, follow the rules, cheer at the end FOR EVERYBODY and then oh I don't know, give them a hug and a "well done" afterwards - to their face. And maybe take them to dinner.....

  • In reply to goofyjj:

    Entitlement!! I don't have to abide by the rules.

  • @goofyjj, C'mon the parents need to set a bad example for their kids to follow. Loud Obnoxious Parents = Loud Obnoxious Kids. Take them to dinner? That would require spending MORE time with them. They have better things to do than be a Parent all day... What world are you living in ?

  • In reply to asChitown:

    Great equation!

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    It's a graduation not a funeral! Let people cheer and enjoy the ceremony. More control and less freedom in pure BS. Boo. Strong DISLIKE

  • In reply to Mark Howerter:

    What would you do if you didn't hear your kid's name called at graduation because someone was cheering for their kid?

  • You are spot on with this topic. My son graduated 8th grade two weeks ago and before the names were read the principal asked that the cheers be held until the end for this very reason and what do you think...there were probably 20 or so groups of parents, whatnot that started whoopin' it up. Yelling out things. It was ridiculous. And it was all the same sort of people. It just shows the level of stupidity, ignorance. They were there from the start and heard the request from the principal. Just complete ignorant animals!

  • In reply to Deanne:

    My daughter graduated on Tuesday and the principal requested that the cheering be held until the end. There was some minor cheering but there was a group of people who started a conversation in the middle of the ceremony. People are so rude and ignorant!!

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