|FEATURE - JUNE, 1999 - JEFFERSON, GEORGIA|
compilation of stories and opinions.
Go to June 16 Opinions and Stories
NewsViews Poll Results
21% said Yes,
the JCCHS administration did the right thing.
(104 total responses to this informal poll)
The Jackson Herald - June 9, 1999
Academics more important than 'shoes' flap
It's amazing what captures the public's attention. Although Jackson County faces a lot of important issues, few have had the outpouring seen this week from the "shoes" controversy.
The facts are clear: Jackson County Comprehensive High School student Shane Pearson wasn't allowed to march or sit with his class last Friday night after he failed to get the proper shoes as outlined by school administrators. He'd reportedly been warned not to wear the "boots" he'd worn to graduation practice on Thursday, but showed up Friday night wearing them anyway.
In the school system's defense, we offer the following:
· Pearson knew the rules, was warned, but chose to break them anyway. He chose his path and thus must suffer the consequences.
· If the school system starts to make exceptions for one student, graduation would be chaos. If all the other seniors could follow the rules, why couldn't he?
· The student is not a child, but a young adult and should know by now that he can't challenge every authority figure that crosses his path.
· Being part of a graduation ceremony isn't a given right, but a privilege. He got his diploma and the world won't come to an end just because he wasn't allowed to march with his class.
· Our society talks a lot about having more discipline in our schools, but the moment a student flaunts a rule, everyone runs to his defense and slams school administrators. We can't have it both ways - either we want more discipline or we don't.
· If Pearson didn't respect his teachers and classmates enough to follow the rules, then he shouldn't complain when left on the sidelines.
Having said that, we wish the school system would go a step further in its graduation ceremony policies by not allowing students who had failed the state graduation test to march and sit with the class. They should have also been put on the bench for not having lived up to the school's academic standards, just as Pearson was sidelined for not living up to dress code standards.
A lot of people have strong feelings over this incident. Frankly, we don't harbor such a passion for the controversy.
We just wish people were as interested in a school's academic performance as they are in its shoe policies.
The Jackson Herald - June 9, 1999
Lost opportunity to march at graduation
After looking forward to my graduation ceremony that I had worked so hard for, this opportunity was stolen from me. I was told to show up at 7:00 with a white dress shirt, a tie, dark pants and dress shoes. I wore all of the above. However, Mr. Gurley (principal) told me my dress shoes "would not do."
When I told him that these were all I had, he said in a sarcastic manner to leave. I could not understand why my dark brown Bass dress shoes were good enough for church but not for graduation. With only 30 minutes left until graduation time, I was supposed to drive to Commerce and find a pair of black dress shoes, size 15, that met Mr. Gurley's standards. Mr. Gurley wanted black dress shoes, but yet in the dress code it simply states "dress shoes."
After I knew there was no time for me to go buy a new pair of shoes in 30 minutes, I accepted that Mr. Gurley was not going to let me walk at graduation. After calming down, I came back to ask Mr. Gurley if I could at least have my diploma, and he threatened to call the police if I did not leave. Mr. Gurley made his threat in front of my fellow graduates and in doing this he humiliated me. I was humiliated and had something taken from me that was a goal for 13 years of my life, and it can never be given back to me.
It was my night to shine and show my family that I had succeeded, and that chance was stolen from me. Lastly, I would like to thank my fellow graduates. Your support made me feel as if I was marching with you all along. That night, a true friend shined through for me. Chad Fulcher, I thank you for being by my side and making me feel special on our greatest night. You were a true friend, and I love you for that.
Reader offers suggestion to local schools
It was heartwarming to see the many praises heaped upon the graduating students of the Jefferson and Commerce school systems offered by both the print and television media of the area. As a contrast, I have watched the events of the last month at Jackson County Comprehensive High School with alarm. The issue at the commencement exercises was only the last of many questionable actions of the administration at JCCHS. I am afraid that the school board, high school administration and, for that matter, we the parents of Jackson County have lost focus of what is important.
How are we as parents, and the school, preparing our youth to join our society as vital contributing members and eventually assume the leadership of our community? I question whether the administration has as its top priorities the education, development and inspiration of our young people to prepare them for the future.
I offer as an example an incident that occurred earlier this spring that, at the request of the parents, did not get the media exposure it perhaps should have. The wrestling team bleached their hair as a demonstration of team and school spirit. Shortly after that, another student, a top-ranked academic student and top-ranked athlete, dyed his hair red as a demonstration of school spirit the evening before a large regional track meet that numerous college scouts and recruiters were to attend. When the student appeared at school, he was told to report to the administration. A change to the dress code was quickly developed, published and distributed, and the student was suspended for the day and until his hair was returned to a more natural color. Of course, the student was not permitted to take part in the track meet and thus lost his opportunity to demonstrate athletic skills at this very important time.
How did this action on the part of the administration further education for the student or the school? What lesson was there in it? Where was the good for either the student or the school? It certainly did not provide further opportunities for the student. It made the school administration look petty in the eyes of several college recruiters. One recruiter was overheard commenting that the senior class should all dye their hair red for commencement. Luckily, that did not take place.
One month ago, my daughter, outraged by the administration's attitude toward student elections, hastily wrote and emailed an editorial to this newspaper. Student response to this was very telling in itself. The first response was basically that it didn't matter who they voted for, nothing would be accomplished, and that elections were merely a popularity contest. Her second point was that life was unfair, elections are useless, get used to it you can't do anything about it.
How very sad to have a 15- or 16-year old girl already so cynical. The frustration my daughter has had as a class officer getting any type of student body empowerment from the JCCHS administration, this last year, has proven this young lady's first point. The lesson learned from the administration was the second point. The second respondent was even more strident in her condemnation of attitudes at JCCHS, going as far as to state that teachers were encouraging her to drop out of school. As a parent that has tried to inspire my children to strive to their highest potential and then strive higher, I resent these alleged school attitudes that undermine these principles.
As a former Army officer, I appreciate the need for order and discipline in education. However, it needs to be understood that discipline is a means to an end and not the end itself. These actions by the JCCHS administration appear to be more an effort to demonstrate absolute control over the students than keep good order and discipline.
The bottom line is performance. Do these actions by the JCCHS administration help our students for the future? I would encourage all parents to visit the Georgia Department of Education web site at www.doe.k12.ga.us to get the answers. At the present time, the results of the 98-99 school year are not yet available; however, school year 97-98 is very revealing. The teachers are for the most part doing their jobs. JCCHS ranks below national averages, but has a very high ranking within the state based on Georgia high school graduation test. JCCHS ranks very poorly on students graduating on time and receiving diplomas with college prep and vocational endorsements. It appears that the teachers are giving our students the tools to succeed, but the administration is not showing them how to use these tools.
I offer the following recommendations to improve the education climate at JCCHS that would have minimal cost to the school system but could reap major rewards.
1. Invite college and vocational school recruiters into the school to address all students during an assembly or seminar at least once a term. All classes should be in attendance. Waiting to their senior year is too late. (This could be set up by the student council.)
2. Develop a program to inform students and parents of scholarships and grants available for postsecondary schooling. A seminar should be held at least once a term. Presently, JCCHS students and parents must attend such seminars in other school districts. Assistance should be available to help complete applications. Again, this should be available to all classes so that students may learn requirements for these aids and act upon them. Waiting to their senior year is too late.
3. The student council should select and appoint a liaison with the board of education. This position could present ideas to the board that may not be approved by the administration. The board would have to allow the student council the opportunity to table items for discussion.
4. Students' course evaluations should be passed out at the end of the school year to get feedback from the students about ways in which to improve classes and determine teachers that may reflect poor attitudes. The student council could be used to distribute and collect these forms as well as tabulating data.
5. Use current databases to track the progress of students after leaving teachers. Do the students of particular teachers have more difficult times in the next sequence of classes?
Finally, the parents of our students must take a greater role in their education. We must remember that the job of the teachers and administration is not an easy one. These school officials and those around the country are being forced to become the babysitters and police officers due to student misconduct. We must teach our children manners, morality, ethics and discipline. This is not the responsibility of the schools, nor do I want them to take this responsibility. Parents of Jackson County must hold the board of education accountable for the performance of the school administration. The administration must hold our teachers accountable for their performance. The future will hold all of us accountable for our collective performance.
Jon E. Freeland
Pay attention to where the finger is pointed
After reading Mike Buffington's article on the incident with my brother, Shane Pearson, I am appalled that a man who has his name, picture and occupational title spread all over the newspaper is screaming, "Get over it" when Shane did not get to receive recognition for his 12 years of work in school. Pardon the cliché, but if the shoe was on the other foot, I doubt Mr. Buffington would be so quick to make judgments and discard the importance of recognition.
There are a few points that Mr. Buffington and the school are forgetting: Shane wore the "proper" attire, according to the graduation dress code that specifically states: "dress shoes." Shane did not try to defy or get away with anything. He was not asking the school to bend any rules. He was adhering to the rules set by the school. It was only when Mr. Gurley did not approve of Shane's dress shoes that a problem arose. It did not begin with my brother. Mr. Gurley started this chain of events.
Next, Mr. Buffington stated that graduation was not a God-given right, but a privilege. Yes, he is correct in this assertion: Shane earned this privilege and deserved to walk at graduation just like all of his lassmates. To a man that is many years past graduation with a job at the newspaper, perhaps graduation is not a significant event. However, to my 18-year-old brother, who worked many long years and gave a lot of time and energy into various programs at Jackson County Comprehensive High School, graduation meant a lot to him. He never chose to be discriminated against; keep in mind who is at fault in this unfortunate ordeal. Pay attention to where the finger is pointed.
Other graduates ignored dress code
I agree that when children are specifically told to wear certain attire to any specific school function that they should, within their ability, do that. However, the problem that I have with the decision that Mr. Gurley made on June 4, is that it did not seem to apply to anyone except Shane Pearson. If you were at the graduation ceremony, or you happened to purchase a graduation video that the school offered, you will see that there were several other students that did not dress accordingly. Why was Shane picked out of all the others to not be included?
Yes, he may have been told the day before about his shoes, but I am sure all of the other students were aware of this situation. If the truth be known, more than likely the ones that did not wear the proper shoes were rebelling, just as you indicate Shane did. So all of them should have been excluded, not just Shane.
Why were students allowed to walk and receive their diploma that still did not have all of their credits? Simply because they have black dress shoes? Something is wrong here.
All in all, I feel that it is a shame that with all the peer pressure that kids have on them today, he chose to stay in school and get a education and a diploma. And that, Mr. Gurley, you and your black dress shoes will never take away from him.
My brain is going to function the same way
whether I wear brown shoes or black shoes
I graduated from Jackson County Comprehensive High School Friday, June 4. This is a major turning point for any high school senior. It is a day that will always be remembered. For most, this is a great experience. For me, it was not so great. Many of you are probably wondering why.
Let me start from the beginning. For the last few months, we seniors have been getting ready for our big day, graduation. A part of this preparation involved graduation practice on June 3. This is the day that we, as seniors, learn how to march onto the field and all such stuff as that. As any high school graduate knows, it is a general rule to wear nice, dark clothes under the graduation gown. Naturally, that would include dark shoes. We were told not to wear tennis shoes, but it was never specified that the shoes being worn must be black, just dark. Thursday, at practice, our principal Mr. Jim Gurley checked everyone's apparel, shoes included. There were a few problems, but he spoke to those few. No big deal.
Friday, we were all to meet in the cafeteria at 7 p.m. I was stopped at the door. Suddenly, the skirt that I had worn the day before to have checked was not appropriate. Luckily, I had a nice pair of pants in my car. Unfortunately, one of my fellow classmates was not so lucky. The shoes that he had on were not black, so he could not walk with his graduating class. Never mind the fact that his brown shoes were perfectly fine when checked the day before. Now, the rules were changed from the printed copy seniors had received. Shoes not only must be dark, now they must be black.
This concerns me. I never realized that graduation was about one's appearance. I have been in the Jackson County school system for 12 years and I thought that I was graduating for my academic accomplishments, not being rewarded for wearing black shoes. I was not aware that appearance was so important. To me, this is the graduate's day. If the person in question wanted to wear purple and orange polka-dotted shoes, who is Mr. High and Mighty Gurley to question that? My brain is going to function the same way whether I wear brown shoes or black shoes. Either way, that diploma was earned. Does anyone reading this really believe that the color of a person's shoes should determine whether or not they walk and receive their diploma? If so, you are just as closed-minded as Mr. Jim Gurley.
What if a graduate didn't have black shoes and could not afford to buy any? Do they deserve that sort of treatment? We all worked hard to reach this point in life. Who deserves to have the memory of this day destroyed by such a petty issue? In my opinion, Jim Gurley has a few issues of his own that he needs to try and resolve by the next school year. The classmate in question is a bright student. He just received a scholarship. It is true, he is a clown and acts up, but he earned his diploma and the right to walk with the class of 1999.
When I look back at graduation, I will remember Jim Gurley and his final decision. I will not think of diplomas. I will not think of tears, not one fell from my eye. I will think of my fellow classmate sitting in the stands with all of our parents, friends and family members, including his own. Most of all, I will think of how happy I was to finally get out of the ever-diminishing Jackson County school system. I will think of Mr. Gurley and how he ruined the most important day of our lives. You need to set your priorities straight, Jim Gurley. Learn what those diplomas that you hand out stand for. You need to think of Colorado. Most of all, think of the face of that certain student who you made sit in the stands. He deserved to be graduating on the field with the rest of the graduating class. I will always remember you, Jim Gurley, but not for the reasons that you want to be remembered by your former students.
Class of 1999
Worse than Horrid
I think this situation with Shane Pearson is worse than horrid. This shows what a person who thinks he has power can do. Mr. Gurley should not only be made to give him an apology, he should be terminated from his position because of his poor judgment.
I have known Shane since he was a small child and to know all of the things life has dealt him this is the most cruel and inhuman thing I have ever heard of.
Why when so much violence is in the schools was this principal so concerned over just one senior's shoes? He should be thankful that they had a peaceful school year instead of something so stupid.
I would like to say to Shane to hold his head high and don't let this incident, even though not a good one, bring him down and definitely don't let this one person make you dislike others because of his ignorance.
"Priciple had no right to tell that guy can not be in his graduation." (huh?)
My close friend and I have came to the conclusion that the principle needs to get his facts straight. He had no right to tell that guy can not be in his graduation. He went to school for 13 years, 14 years if he went to pre-k, not to minchun that there was many other kids who had on flip flops and they were able to attend, I think that the priciple didn't like that student so he made up a reason so he couldn't attend the graduation.
Note: This letter was left unedited.
Who is really looking at the shoes?
I'm a band student at JCCHS. Being on the field, the band got a close look at what the graduating students were wearing. Some of us had noticed that a lot of the students were wearing flip flops and sandals. Some of us that new (sic) Shane Pearson could not understand why he was not down on the field walking.
When I found out that the reason he could not walk was because of his shoes, I thought it was ridiculous, because someone who passes all of their required courses, gets a scholarship to play football, is liked by a lot of students and faculty members, but does not get to march because of the type of shoes he is wearing does not make any since (sic) to me. The type of shoes should not matter when a person is graduating. If a person can go to school for 12 or 13 years, wears the right pants, the correct shirt and tie, but not the correct shoes, who is really looking at the shoes?
I believe that Shane does deserve an apology from Mr. Gurley, and the rest of the board of education.
JCCHS Band Member
Shane did not get to shine because of the color of his boots
My name is Ashleigh Saxton. I am a 15 year old student at Commerce High School. I did not attend the Jackson County High School Graduation on June 4, but I read the article in the newspaper and would like to voice my opinion on this matter.
I do not know Shane Pearson personally, but I know of him. I think it was a very wrong decision made by Mr. Gurley. Graduation is a time in your life were you want to be noticed for your successes. Shane did not get to shine like he wanted to all because of the color of his boots.
As many people in the other articles said, "other students had on flip flops, sandals, open toed shoes," my question is why were these individuals not made to leave also? I really think the school faculty, mainly Mr. Gurley owes Shane an apology for humiliating him and taking away his time to come out on top and be recognized. I know our school administration would never take away a students privilege and long time accomplishments to participate in an important event as graduation is, no matter how they were dressed. I personally feel there was a grudge between Gurley and Pearson. For Mr. Gurley to have only set out this individual and not any of the other students who did not meet the dress code either, I feel there must have been. I understand there was a dress code for this ceremony, but it particularly stated "dress shoes".
Seeing the shoes Shane wore, I would have thought they would be fine for the event. It just goes to show you what kind of people we have in our society. My sympathy and apologies go out to Shane Pearson and his family that came out for this special day in his life and never got to see him walk out on the field with his class and get what he has worked for for the past 13 years of his life. I would also like to show my gratitude and praise for the young man who had the privilege to march with his class on the field, Chad Fulcher. That was a brave and nice thing you did for your friend. He will always remember you. If I had been there graduating with the class, I would have done the same! Shane, hold your head up, I'm very proud of you and so are many other people!
Is Editor Childless?
My question to you is, do you have children? If so, how would you feel if your child had met all requirements to walk and receive their high school diploma, but because of their shoes was not allowed to? How as a parent would you feel?
As a parent myself, graduation from high school is supposed to be one the most proud and exciting moments I look forward to experiencing. You are right that graduation is a privilege. A privilege is something you earn. And according to the requirements of JCCHS and the state of Georgia, Shane Pearson had earned that privilege by academically qualifying for graduation. The comment that disturbs me the most was "the world won't come to an end because he wasn't allowed to march with his class." No one is saying that it will. The point we are trying to make is a very important moment which should have been a memorable one for Shane instead was destroyed.
You probably don't know this, but he had brought a picture of his mother who he lost at a very young age to carry with him across the stage. He had worked for 13 years overcoming a lot of obstacles to do this for her. And very much wanted to carry her picture as he marched across stage for his senior walk to receive his diploma. But this too was taken away from him.
This was not only supposed to be a celebration for his graduation, but a tribute to his mother. I also agree "academics is more important than shoes." Shane had met all the academic requirements to be eligible to walk and graduate with his class. But, in this case, I suppose all that hard work didn't matter.
I don't understand how you, if you are a parent, could make the comments you did in your editorial. Maybe graduation doesn't have the same meaning to you as it does to all of us that are upset about what happened to Shane.
(No relation to editor!!)
Education a Constitutional Right! (with or without shoes?)
I hope you print this response regarding the boy who wasn't allowed to walk with his graduating class. This situation reminds me of what my generation experienced in the late 1960's and early 1970's. That was when boys began wearing their hair either shoulder length or longer. In order to graduate with their class, they had to wear short haired wigs! Luckily, that was a short lived discrimination in my community.
The Constitution says that every child has a right to an education. Shane Pearson took advantage of that right and did it well, better than others. As far as I'm concerned, the local school officials have no right to design a dress code in order to determine who will walk and who will not walk during the graduation ceremonies. The schools already have a dress code in place for the students so that they provide a neat appearance. Who gives anyone the right to change it along the way to suit them?
As a taxpayer who pays "very high!" school taxes to support the educational facilities in this county, I say that every student who has earned their diploma can walk with their class at any one of these public facilities! I don't care if they wear one red shoe and one blue shoe! As a school taxpayer in this county, I make a formal complaint to the board of education of Jackson County that a school official was allowed to "change the rules" for one day and deprive a student of the right to receive his diploma with this classmates!
I raised four children in this county who all agree received more discouragement than they did encouragement in their education at JCCHS. In fact, if it hadn't been for the help of private schools, they wouldn't have been able to get into college. We could all write a book on it!
(Editor's note: The U.S. Constitution does
not guarantee everyone the right to an education.)
Boots No Big Deal
How can anyone wonder why there is so much concern over Shane's boots instead of other matters within the county? With all the violence taking place in our schools in this country, making it to graduation is a big accomplishment. As most know, with all the killings this year, several students did not make it to their graduation ceremony. Not allowing a student to participate in graduation ceremonies for something as insignificant as the color of his shoes is a total outrage. I know that a dress code was given to each student, and I also know that the dress code only stated "dress shoes". If a certain type of shoe is required, then it should be stated in the dress code. I disagree with Mr. Gurley's statement that all the other 182 students were dressed appropriately. There were students with brown shoes and even flip flops. So my question is, why single out one individual? This is not a matter of a student trying to be disrespectful to his teachers or his school, this is a matter of one principal making a poor decision.
Students are killing other students because they are not part of what is called the "in crowd"; they do not look the right way or dress the right way. I understand their feelings, but I do not understand and I do not believe killing someone is the answer. So society thinks we should tell our young children that everyone just be treated the same no matter what they look like or how they dress. We tell them not to pick on someone who is different. Then a principal has the nerve to tell a student that he can not participate in graduation because he is dressed differently. What kind of message is this suppose to send to our children?
As adults, how can we preach right and wrong when we are not willing to live by the practice we preach? Hats off to Chad Fulcher for standing by his friend. In my opinion, the entire graduating class should have walked off the field, or stopped the ceremonies until Shane was seated on the field with the rest of his class, where he should have been to start with.
What difference do shoes make?
The one thing that keeps going through my mind after reading this article is "What difference does it make what is on their feet?" These kids have worked long and hard to get their diplomas and I commend each and every one of them on their hard work. I don't know what kind of history Shane Pearson has had in school but the point is that he did earn the right to march with his class to receive his diploma. With so many kids dropping out of school and not caring about an education, it's a shame that Mr. Gurley took this moment away from Shane Pearson. In my opinion, what matters most when they walk up to receive their diploma is not what's on their feet but what is on their minds and in their hearts.
Wishes senior well in college
I am writing this letter in response to the uncaring act of Mr. Gurley and the board of education of Jackson County. Mr. Shane Pearson is a very close friend of my son, John Hethcoat. My son was very upset that Shane was not given the opportunity to walk with their graduating class of 1999 after everything Shane has gone through in his life and still finishing high school and excelling football and receiving a scholarship.
This particular event is very important in any senior's high school career. I think not allowing Shane to march with his classmates was poor judgment on the part of everyone involved. On behalf of my son and our family, we would like to express our congratulations to Shane to wish him well in his college career. We will be keeping a constant eye on him. I'm sure when it comes time for him to graduate from college, they won't be concerned about what color shoes he will be wearing. I can honestly say that I am glad that this is the last year that I have to deal with Jackson County Comprehensive High School.
Lori Baldwin and family
Student has right to be outraged
I believe this young man should have been allowed to participate in his graduation ceremonies at Jackson County Comprehensive High School. Both my sons graduated from this school and I know there are some fine educators there. However, it only takes one incident of poor judgment by someone in authority to send the wrong signals to our young adults. Employers of these young adults will expect them to adhere to the rules, so I do see both sides of this issue. But, employers are expected to treat everyone fairly and with dignity. If the letters I've read are true about other graduates wearing flip flops and etc., then a difference was made between this young man and the other students, hence, unfair treatment, and he has a right to be outraged.
Incident suspicious to former graduate
I am writing in response to the story about Shane Pearson. As a former classmate, I know the excitement graduation brings. You work hard, do your best, and then the day comes when you walk down the aisle and receive your diploma. It's a moment that I will remember for the rest of my life. Mainly because of the events that occurred before and during the graduation exercises.
I believe that there was some other reason why Mr. Gurley asked Shane to leave, which had nothing to do with Shane's shoes. I say this because I know plenty of other students who were not following the dress code: Approximately three of the girls had on what looked like sandals, and one of the girls wore pants during graduation, while another girl was asked to change for wearing pants. There was a guy on the field who was allowed to graduate, yet he was also wearing brown dress shoes. Now, I'm not trying to change the subject, I'm just trying to point out the fact that Mr. Gurley failed to say anything to these people, yet he didn't hesitate to say something to Shane. It's just a little suspicious to me.
I know that Mr. Gurley would probably say something like, "I can't catch every person who violates the dress code." And I also know that there were teachers at the door checking to make sure that what we were wearing was appropriate, but it seems like Mr. Gurley would have checked everybody out before graduation began, if the dress code was so important to him.
The fact that Shane got into the lunchroom, where all the graduates lined up, without a problem, yet was later asked to leave is also something to think about. It just doesn't make sense that someone's marching status can be determined by the color of their shoes. If the school is more concerned with something as simple as the color of someone's shoes than anything else, then I think they have problems, which they need to deal with immediately.
I am writing about the graduation that Shane Pearson could not walk in. I feel that is just cruel. I don't know Shane, but I feel for him. He worked hard for that diploma I am sure, and I would like to congratulate him myself. I think that every one of those graduates should have sat in the stands with Shane. But maybe they didn't know the situation. All I can say is, I would have sat with you, Shane. In a time when we are looking to keep our kids in school and keep them, this principal is worried about shoes. That is awful. He should be happy with all these kids making it through school. I can guarantee that under those robes some of those students didn't fit "dress code," so what does it matter about a pair of shoes? If the principal had such a problem with his shoes, he should have offered to let Shane wear his. You just can't take this important moment from someone so lightly. He earned it and Mr. Gurley and anyone who allowed this decision to hold, owes Shane a public apology and the refund of his robe.
Maybe his classmates could have a special ceremony just for Shane. I bet a lot of Jackson County would show up. Congratulations to you, Shane. I am sorry this day was ripped from you so heartlessly. But know that you have a lot of people on your side. God bless you.
Ft. Rucker, Ala.