Student Banned From Walking at Graduation Because She Was Late for Rehearsal (VIDEO)

Rant 16

teen lateGraduation day. Theoretically, it's supposed to be a milestone moment in life. A memory to cherish. Personally, I found the experience of graduating from high school to be less about pomp and circumstance and more about the discomfort of sitting on a folding chair in a hot, sticky gymnasium wearing an itchy polyester gown and a matching cap that kept sliding off my head, but that's not really the point. The point is, everybody should have the opportunity to experience this rite of passage, whether it ends up being profound or profoundly lame, and South Carolina high school senior Haley Coker was robbed of said opportunity for a really, really stupid reason.

Apparently Coker "accidentally arrived too late to her graduation rehearsal because she was taking her younger sister to her own school event in place of her working mother" -- and her school has a strict policy against allowing seniors who miss graduation rehearsals to walk with their class during the ceremony.

That's an awfully harsh rule under any circumstances, in my opinion, though I guess it could be considered a reasonable punishment if the kid missed rehearsal because he or she happened to be doing bong-hits behind the bleachers or something. But taking care of her younger sister?! The saddest part is that Coker literally "begged" her principal to make an exception based on her very legitimate excuse:

“I begged her, I said please, please, please, please, please. She told me no. She told me to get off the stage because I was embarrassing myself.”

Now that's just crossing over into cruel and heartless territory. Especially taking into account the claims made in a statement released by the school regarding "legitimate" excuses for missing rehearsal:

“Students are required to participate in practices to 'walk' in graduation. Principals want seniors to participate and can and do make exceptions for special circumstances for legitimate reasons for missing a practice. For example, a student could call during rehearsal so his/her participation can be planned.”

And being a responsible big sister is NOT a legitimate reason?

This story gets even crazier, unfortunately. In a show of support, Coker's classmates posted her story and picture on Facebook with the words: “LIKE SO Haley Coker can walk at graduation today @ 2." The image went viral immediately, scoring over one million likes and more than 40,000 comments -- and STILL the school principal wouldn't budge!! Coker was forced to sit and watch her own graduation from the sidelines.

I can't imagine how furious I would be if I were Haley's mom! And she seems like such a sweet girl:

FOX Carolina 21

What is wrong with people?? Is this a case of common sense being trumped by mindless adherence to rules and regulations -- or plain old mean-spiritedness?

Do you think Haley Coker should have been allowed to walk with her graduating class?

Image via Fox/Carolina

news, school


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bills... billsfan1104

Usually I would agree with the school for certain situations, but I think the school should of bended a little. Would of helped if she called and said she was going to be a little late. Sometimes communication is key.

amnew... amnewlon8982

I don't remember much about my rehearsal other than getting there late driving a car load of hungover seniors because we all came from the same place where I was the DD the night before. My principals daughter was in my car and was just glad one of us stayed sober to get us there safely.

LostS... LostSoul88

I missed my rehearsal and walked. Schools are getting out of control. 

BirdCo BirdCo

Facebook likes didn't help? *gasp* oh nos!

This is unfortunate and I feel bad for the girl but, really does "wrong" have to go viral? Sometimes life isn't fair no matter how many Facebook likes we get.

BirdCo BirdCo

*every "wrong"


BirdCo BirdCo

*every "wrong"


BirdCo BirdCo

*every "wrong"


nonmember avatar Andrea

She knew the rules. My high school had the same thing, a few girls showed up late (one being the dean's daughter) and they were not allowed to walk. I think the principle could have budged in a situation like this, but then she would have to budge for everyone. The girl should have planned accordingly, had she called and explained things like she was supposed to, she would have walked.

Victo... Victoria0785

The rule is asinine. Schools are getting way out if hand in the controlling department in regards to an event that marks the end of having to listen to them. Seriously, why does she need to rehearse walking? Can't she just follow everyone else? My graduation rehearsal, my friends and I were late, only walked through once, then skipped the rest. Miracle of miracle, we all walked correctly, got to our correct seats, and didn't fall when walking into stage!

TheTr... TheTruthTeller

I guess she should have planned to drop off her sister earlier.

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