A question for school administrators: do you prove a point when you tell kids they can’t have fun during big ceremonies? A high school senior in Maine was told he will not be awarded his diploma because he took a bow and blew a kiss to his family when his name was called during commencement ceremonies this week.
It’s becoming increasingly common for schools to crack the whip on behavior at big events, be they high school graduation or sixth grade awards ceremonies, but there’s something to be said for letting kids enjoy the moment.
A five-year-old pumping his fists when he gets his kindergarten completion slip isn’t going to send the entire school into a frenzy. And, believe it or not, a high school senior whipping out a beach ball and letting it fly across to his buddy isn’t going to destroy the day.
Kids – even kids who are about to become adults – are still human beings. You can let them have fun. Really.
Take Justin Denney. Both he and mom Mary signed a code of conduct form before graduation, but she was as shocked as he was when the school refused to hand over his diploma for his bow and kiss. She said it was “showboating,” not misbehavior.
As a newspaper reporter, graduation is one of my favorite events to cover every year. People are in good moods. The kids are laughing, they’re parents grinning from ear to ear. So I roll my eyes at the lecture every year by the class advisors to the kids not to throw their mortarboards and not to be silly and not to chew gum and not to do this and not to do that.
It’s their big day, people, let them celebrate. For heaven’s sakes, WE do it! Brides and grooms throw up their hands and blow kisses on the walk down the aisle after the ceremony and mothers and fathers dance with their kids on their shoulders at concerts.
Do we really want to raise a generation of kids who sit on their hands?