• A bow and a kiss = no diploma

    Date: 06.21.09 | by Judge Tom.

    Last week Justin Denney attended his graduation ceremony at Bonny Eagle High School in Maine. While picking up tickets for the event, he and his mother signed a code of conduct that prohibited any “Misbehavior” at the ceremony.  This practice has become commonplace in high schools due to a few unruly students who set out to disrupt ceremonies.


    Photo from Channel 8 WMTW-TV

    Once in line on stage to receive his diploma, Justin pointed to his family, took a bow and blew his mother a kiss. He also pulled out a necklace he was wearing from a track meet he had won.

    When he reached the school superintendent who was handing out the diplomas, she told him “There’s no fooling around up here,” and then asked Justin why he thought he deserved to graduate. He replied that he had worked hard and earned it. She responded “No, go take your seat.”

    Before this happened, some students were disciplined for throwing beach balls around. But Justin never touched a beach ball. A few days later, an assistant superintendent said he would receive his diploma.

    Whether the school was right or wrong in this case, Justin’s graduation was marred and can’t be redone. What do you think amounts to misbehavior at a school event?

    From what you’ve read here, should Justin be in trouble for what he did? Or do you think the superintendent overreacted?

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    • julie
      Tue, 30 Jun 2009 at 06:26

      per a group of 8 teenage boys, the above was a complete overreaction & the superintendent was “out of line”