Thursday, June 18, 2009

High School Graduation, a problem!

Thursday is senior fitness day and I usually wait until I get home to write an opening for the post so I can describe how my session went. That’s not the case today as Wife Gator and I are heading out for breakfast as soon as I get home. So, since the weather is nice, at least this morning, I think we can assume that all went well. That’s why the time stamp on this one is before the senior session.

Yesterday was just a great day. We had beautiful sunshine the whole day, but a sea breeze came far enough inland to cool my place off a little in the afternoon. We’re told this day will deteriorate as it moves forward and some showers, perhaps even some rain, could arrive over night or early tomorrow. The weather guys just can’t seem to figure out what is going to happen this weekend, so we’ll just have to wait.

It won’t be long before you’ll be able to select your food in restaurants, at least the chain restaurants, by their calorie content. The governor has signed into law a provision to require the information to be posted on menus, menu boards, and the like in restaurants that have 20 or more outlets. Outlets in other states are included in the count. I believe the majority of people who care already know what they’re eating and the rest and those who don’t care will continue to buy what they want when they want it. But it will make the lawmakers feel good.

Two other bills were signed into law in an attempt to fight obesity in Maine. If I still had children in school, I think I’d be very upset at one of the laws that require heights and weights of school children recorded in the Maine Center for Disease Control files. Seems to me that might be an intrusion into the children’s and family’s privacy rights. I think I did hear the reporter on Ch. 6 last night say that parental approval is a requirement, however.

The third one is just another unfunded mandate from the state to local school districts. It encourages elementary schools to promote physical activity and physical education. Although I really believe that encouragement is a good idea and wish I had been more active physically when I was a kid, it could result in another cost for local districts in these hard financial times.

It’s now in the national news just about everywhere and Bonny Eagle High School is taking it on the chin for the actions of a few. I have not formed any opinion on the issue of at least one student being escorted from the graduation venue and at least one other being denied his diploma because I wasn’t there and really don’t know the facts of the situation. However, enough has been reported to look at the issue.

From what little I have read, there probably were mistakes both by students and administrators. First, if the students were informed well before the graduation ceremonies what the ground rules were and if the students signed a form agreeing to those terms, then they should have abided by them. Apparently a few decided the graduation was their day and they could do whatever they wished.

After all, if those students had attended some recent college graduation ceremonies, perhaps because an older sibling was receiving a degree, then they saw much of the activity they performed at their own graduation. If that were the situation . . . I want you to know I hate all these “ifs” which only serve to enforce the lack of honest facts . . . then they were doing only what they were shown was all right.

I wonder if bowing to pay homage to parents and blowing them a “thank you” kiss was included in the “don’t” list. For doing that one student didn’t get his diploma while on the stage, his 30 seconds of fame, if you will.

I’d like to say that not following what they apparently did sign and the results that followed should have been an exercise in learning that signed contracts are promises to perform. I hesitate, however, because recent activities in Washington seem to be saying that contracts are only worth the cost of paper.

The administration may also have a problem of its own. Did the superintendent over react in not allowing that graduate to get his diploma because he paid homage to his parents? I think so. I cannot help but wonder just how much input the students had in developing that contract they were to sign. I also wonder if the threat of not participating in the graduation exercises was used to coerce a signing. If, there it is again, that last statement is true, and I have no reason to believe it is or isn’t, perhaps the results could have been anticipated.

Just what is a high school graduation? Is it the last day of a lifetime of education being celebrated by students who have finally reached their goal of getting a diploma from high school? Is it a chance for parents, grandparents and other family members to celebrate the accomplishment of the young men and women? Is it a combination of both? One thing we know it isn’t; it isn’t designed for administrators to show their control. I guess I have to wonder if administrators have to have a contract signed if they have done their jobs leading up to it by teaching proper decorum in a formal affair.

I would certainly hope that before another graduation ceremony is planned that all parties to it, students, administrators, and perhaps parents, would get together to set the ground rules.

And I hope that arrangements have been made for the youngster denied his diploma for paying homage to his parents was able to pick it up later. Channel Six said this morning he has yet to receive it and that the family has sought the help of an attorney.

All this sort of puts a new meaning to looking forward to one's high school graduation, doesn't it?


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