School Reverses Decision to Deny Diplomas for Tossing Graduation Caps

Students will get diplomas after all, superintendent says

By Lauren Jiggetts
|  Friday, May 30, 2014  |  Updated 10:31 AM PDT
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Students cry foul after not receiving diplomas, but school officials say it's just punishment for not following orders. NBC 5's Lauren Jiggetts reports.

Students cry foul after not receiving diplomas, but school officials say it's just punishment for not following orders. NBC 5's Lauren Jiggetts reports.

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A suburban Chicago high school has backed off its decision to deny an entire class of graduating seniors diplomas after some students ignored warnings not to throw their graduation caps into the air during Tuesday's commencement ceremony.

Superintendent Dr. Robert Lupo said in a statement that Ridgewood High School officials have re-thought its policy and will send out diplomas Thursday to all members of the school's Class of 2014.

"Regarding the distribution of diplomas," Lupo said, "we recognize that most of those who participated in the graduation ceremonies were well-behaved and followed instructions. I am sorry that the ceremony was marred by a few students who chose not to follow those instructions."

Students who do not receive their diploma by June 4 are asked to call the school, Lupo said.

Officials originally said the students in northwest suburban Norridge would not be given diplomas unless they publicly apologize. School administrators, who said the students were warned repeatedly beforehand, called their actions disrespectful.

Lupo originally explained the reasoning behind the decision on his blog.

"The gym is decorated; people dress up (some of them); we expect dignified behavior," Lupo wrote. "Secondly, it is an indoor event. In past ceremonies, people have been hit by flying caps. We'd just as soon not have graduates leaving with cuts and black eyes."

Lupo also addressed the students who didn't throw their caps, saying they should voice their concerns with the students who didn't listen.

Parent Mary Sticha supports the students.

"It was kind of silly that they would request them not to," Sticha said. "It wasn't a way to disrespect anyone, it was just a way to do something together and celebrate the end of the year."

"I just think it's really ridiculous," Senior Jackie Rios said. "We worked so hard to get to this point."

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