And I can understand when schools ask that people not hoot and holler so much when their student's name is called. Can you imagine being the family of the next child, the one whose name cannot be heard because of the air horns, cow bells, and screeches of some people who think the whole ceremony is about their own student?
Some might say, "don't read the next name until all the whooping has subsided". My school graduated over 300 students; given the time constraints of the auditorium we utilize for graduation (there was another graduation right after ours), there isn't time to do that. We have to read another name every few seconds.
Some schools experience this problem of "excessive exuberance" and ask people not to cheer, or to hold their applause until all graduates have walked across the stage. Some even put that request in writing. Still, some people ignore it completely.
So what do schools do then? They can't mandate class. They have to up the ante.
When Rock Hill school officials tell commencement crowds to hold their applause until the end, they mean it — police arrested seven people after they were accused of loud cheering during the ceremonies.
At first glance, that could seem pretty extreme. Even to me, that looked extreme. But let's read on:
"I just thought they were going to escort me out," Jonathan Orr told The Herald of Rock Hill, about 70 miles north of Columbia. "I had no idea they were going to put handcuffs on me and take me to jail."
Let me interpret what this 21-year-old man said. "I know how I was supposed to behave, but I didn't think there would be any real consequences for being obnoxious, so I did whatever I wanted anyway. And I thought that once I got away with it, they'd just kick me out--which is fine, because I'd already seen and done what I went there to see and do anyway." Selfish, rude, and needing to be knocked down a notch. With people like young Mr. Orr, I'm not surprised the school had police there.
Acting with dignity doesn't have to mean a funereal atmosphere at graduation, but let's remember that a graduation ceremony is not a football game.