Lewis Diuguid

Cheers bring charges at graduation in Mississippi

Audiences are eager about cheering at graduation ceremonies. However, three persons in Mississippi who cheered when they weren’t supposed to at the Senatocia High School graduation now face misdemeanor public disturbance charges.
Audiences are eager about cheering at graduation ceremonies. However, three persons in Mississippi who cheered when they weren’t supposed to at the Senatocia High School graduation now face misdemeanor public disturbance charges. File photo

At every graduation imaginable, those running the show tell overly eager audiences to hold their applause until after all of the cap-and-gown folks on stage have received their diplomas.

For academics, it is to underscore the solemnness of the occasion. But few people are as disciplined as the college, high school and middle school faculty would like everyone to be.

So wild cheers, whistles, shouts and outrageous applause occur frequently when some young people walk across the stage to get their diplomas. It’s never wanted but nevertheless expected — especially for those students whom no one thought would graduate, and often there are quite a few of them.

School officials and some folks in the audience always frown, but that’s about as far as it goes until the May 21 graduation of Senatobia High School in Senatobia, Miss.

Three people now face misdemeanor public disturbance charges because of how they reacted at the graduation. They failed to follow instructions to hold their applause until all had graduated at the ceremony and cheered for individual graduates of the high school.

Authorities clearly overreacted. The charges against the exited few should be dropped immediately.

Until that happens, the three “offenders” face a fine of up to $500 and a sentence of up to six months in jail.

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