Diplomas withheld after audience cheered Fayetteville graduates


FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — The diplomas of more than 20 graduates from Seventy-First High School are being withheld after loved ones cheered as graduates walked across the stage last week.

School district leaders say the cheers became highly disruptive.

“When it starts, it doesn’t stop,” said Cumberland County Board of Education Chairman Greg West. “Everyone’s gotta cheer louder for their kid to show they love their kid more than the previous people did”

West says the school has one hour to get more than 300 graduates across the stage and maintain the dignity of the ceremony.

The students are forewarned of the rules at graduation practice. “Please hold applause” is printed on the graduation ticket and program.

About half an hour after the first name is called, when the last graduate has crossed the stage, the crowd is allowed to applaud.

Each high school principal determines the consequence if the rule isn’t followed.

Diplomas were withheld from various graduates of at least four Cumberland County high schools this year.

It’s not clear how long the diplomas will be withheld from Seventh-First students.

We reached out to the principal, but have not heard back.

We asked people around Fayetteville if the audience should be able to cheer as graduates walks across the stage. These were their responses:

Robert Campbell: “Of course you should be able to cheer for your child. It’s an accomplishment. They work hard.”

Kimberly Blackwell: “A lot of kids aren’t graduating these days, so yes.”

L.C. Campbell: “I think so as long as you keep it in context not to clap too loud or too long.”

Christina Kenon: “As a parent, I want my kid to know, ‘Congratulations! I’m here for you. I love you.'”

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