I can't even begin to imagine what the board members at Austin Fisher's Carrollton, Ohio high school are thinking -- if they're thinking at all, that is. See, 17-year-old Fisher is graduating this May, but he won't be allowed to walk across the stage with his classmates. No cap, no gown. No cheers from the crowd when he gets his diploma. Why? Well, apparently the board feels that Fisher missed "too many days" of school this year.
But guess what Fisher was doing on the days he didn't make it to class? Not partying. Not wasting time at the mall or doing skateboard stunts and posting them on YouTube.
On the days Austin Fisher missed school, he was caring for his mother with Stage IV lung cancer. That's right, Fisher missed "too many days" because he was busy driving his terminally ill single mom Teresa to cancer treatments AND holding down two jobs.
If your reaction to this story is anything like mine, you're probably feeling equal parts infuriated and heartbroken right now.
Thankfully, we're not the only ones.
Austin Fisher's classmates are outraged, too, as is pretty much the entire community (and any thinking, feeling human being besides the ones banning this kid from graduation). Students are circulating a petition (which can be signed online); the Facebook page "Let Fish Walk!" has over 10,000 members.
The whole thing is beyond unfair; it's like something out of a Dickens novel. Here's a family in the middle of an incredibly tragic and difficult time ... let's rob them of this potentially joyful moment!
As Austin's mom wrote in a letter of thanks to concerned Ohio resident Angela Howard:
I could not be more proud of my 17 year old son. He is my hero. No, not the perfect student by their standards but felt his priorities were right at the time. Thank you for your kind words Angela and the entire 2012 class for your efforts. When I was diagnosed with a terminal illness, Stage IV lung cancer and the prognosis was not bright, you make certain goals to get through another day. That goal was to see my son graduate and go off to college.
Will you sign the petition to let Austin Fisher walk?
Image via Adrian Sampson/Flickr