Saturday, February 19, 2011

Graduation Manners

Recently, we received the official Dunwoody High School graduation schedule, filled with bold-faced print, exclamation marks, and underlines.

Reading through this missive, I figured out the following:
  • There have been some very badly behaved parents and guests attending graduation, who evidently are prone to shouting, blowing air horns, cursing, carrying large televisions and coolers, bearing helium baloons and confetti, smoking, eating, spraying graffiti and vandalizing the premises, having a nip from a flask, selling Amway or magazine subscriptions, taking up way more seats than are issued, and arriving late.
  • Students apparently do not understand that graduation is a special occasion, so arrive in flip flops, revealing tops, baggy pants, huge earrings, open toed sandals, and colorful shirts and ties rather than modest colors. 
  • Someone does not believe public schools should have a Baccalaureate ceremony. Hence, it is now called the "Pre-Commencement Ceremony." 
In other words, high school graduation has become a rowdy "that's my kid!" celebration for the parent rather than the student.

There is always a segment of parents and guests who can't tell the difference between a sporting event and a formal ceremony.  But you can't legislate behavior ... unless you're actually willing to follow through on promises of corrective measures. In my experience, rules and regulations are just paper tigers. They have no teeth. Too many laws get on the books because someone, somewhere, did something bad, so they made a law just in case anyone else was thinking about doing the same thing. Problem is, writing more laws doesn't result in better behavior. 

There are scores of Dunwoody High School parent and student volunteers, teachers, and administrators who are working hard to make graduation a truly special event. They are unbelievably generous with their time and dedication to the students who will graduate on May 20. Yet, I have no doubt that all the boldfacing and underscoring in the world won't reach the guests who will still do their best to celebrate without regard to those trying to enjoy the ceremony. And students who will make one grand gesture as they cross the stage.

It's all about them.

Our oldest kid is graduating. And we'll get through it with him, just as we've made it through the past thirteen years ... with the support of the unparalleled Dunwoody public school community: students, parents, teachers, administrators, and businesses.

Now, where did I put my air horn?

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