An entire class of graduating seniors in a Chicago suburb was denied diplomas after the students ignored warnings not to throw their graduation caps into the air during Tuesday's commencement ceremony.
"It was the perfect ending to the graduation, but unfortunately we didn't get our diplomas," graduating senior Andre Taraska said.
The Ridgewood High School students in northwest suburban Norridge will not be given their diplomas unless they publicly apologize, officials said. School administrators, who say the students were warned repeatedly beforehand, called their actions disrespectful.
Superintendent Dr. Robert Lupo 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."
Lupo also said on his blog that "perhaps it is the final lesson they will take away from high school: there are consequences for behaviors in life."
Senior Jackie Rios disagrees.
"I just think it's really ridiculous. We worked so hard to get to this point," Rios said.
Lupo did not return calls requesting comment Wednesday. The students will be allowed to pick up their diplomas if class representatives apologize at the June 4 meeting. There's no word on what the students plan to do.