The administration at Ridgewood High School in the Chicago suburb of Norridge, has “re-thought” their decision to initially deny the entire senior class of 2014 their diplomas after many threw their caps in the air at the graduation ceremony. The graduates were instructed repeatedly, "Please do not throw the caps or there will be consequences." It shouldn't have been entirely surprising behavior for students at a school that calls itself the, “Home of the Rebels.”
The Chicago Tribune reports that after the punishment was given, Ridgewood’s website told graduates they had to pick student representatives to “apologize to the school’s board of trustees for their ‘disrespectful and insubordinate behavior,’” in order to receive their diplomas.
Several students spoke to WMAQ NBC 5, to express their dissatisfaction with the administration’s decision. Jackie Rios said, “I just think it's really ridiculous only because we worked so hard to get to this point." Another senior classmate said, “It wasn’t a way to disrespect anyone it was just in a way where we wanted to do something together and celebrate, like, the end of the year." Parents, like Mary Sticha, support the students. “Oh I love [the graduation cap toss], they do it every year, so I was expecting it and I, it was kind of silly that they would request them not to,” Sticha said.
Superintendent Dr. Robert Lupo explained why the instruction and punishment were issued in his blog, The Rebel Yell. He wrote, “The gym is decorated; people dress up (some of them); we expect dignified behavior. 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.” He continued, writing, “Perhaps it is the final lesson they will take away from high school: there are consequences for behaviors in life. If you are unwilling to face those consequences, perhaps you should rethink your actions.” The superintendent also addressed the students that didn’t throw their caps, who probably learned their own life lesson after reading Lupo’s comment, “I am sorry that your fellow classmates put you in this position. If you wish to voice your concerns, you should probably start with them.”
Today, Dr. Lupo updated the Ridgewood High website which read in part, “Attention Class of 2014… we recognize that most of those who participated in the graduation ceremonies were well-behaved and followed instructions...we have re-thought our policy and will be sending out diplomas to all members of the class of 2014 today.”