Friday, June 05, 2015

Behavior At Graduation Ceremonies

Joanne links to a story about people being charged in part because they cheered too much at a graduation ceremony.

I left two comments on her post, linking to earlier posts I've done on this subject.  My take, in short:  it's a graduation ceremony, not an English soccer match.  Act accordingly.  Yell excessively later, at your own party.


three of clubs said...

I agree with you in general about virtually everything, but you are wrong here unless I haven't followed the full story. After a successful career elsewhere, I taught inner city high schools for more than a few years before retiring.

Two anecdotes:

1. Me and my best friend are chilling at our graduation, talking, acting wise, before going off to our respective prestigious colleges when the girl in front turns around and tells us to shut up. This was the only graduation she was going to have; she knew us, we were barely aware of her; and, she was also trying to be reverent about the only ceremony she was likely to have. That has stayed with me.

2. Years later at my tiny school, no one had ever been expected to graduate from school. It was a major triumph; the family members knew how to act in many other venues, had you told them it was like a church service, they would have been fine, but, on an occasion of great joy they wanted to celebrate a family achievement --- likely the first they had had in some time. It can't be that wrong. Was there some part of the video which was clipped? I don't think I saw anything grossly inappropriate.

3. Unless there is something I didn't understand, arrests and court charges seem wildly out of line.

Submitted with all respect.

Darren said...

I'm not commenting on the specifics of the video at Joanne's link, merely using her post as a springboard for my own commentary. If you didn't go to the links I left in the comments of her post, here they are:

Do we still disagree?

maxutils said...

The most important reason why you don't cheer for each student at graduation is, as Darren commented, that it prevents the people who are following the rules from hearing their child's name being called -- which, let's face it, is the only reason why anyone would willingly attend a graduation ceremony. But more than that -- two things: Loud, organized cheering is not so much about praising the student, but drawing attention to one's self --"SEE! I told you I could get a kid through graduation!" and it works. Everyone around you notices, and is annoyed, just as if you were talking loudly in a movie theater -- another place where being quiet is requested out of respect for others. Second -- consider the kids who don't have large families or groups of friends. Or families who elect not to come? How do you think it makes them feel when certain kid get loud, organized cheers, and they walk across to silence? But, that's kind of a dumb question, because if you're one of the jerks who violates a simple rule so that you can make yourself stand out -- you've already shown you don't care about others.

That said, though -- I fin d it strange that they got kicked out … unless it was repeated behavior, or if there was a zero tolerance policy. If repeated, that means they were yelling not just for their child, but probably her friends -- in which case, yeah, kick them out. If it was zero tolerance? well, zero tolerance rules are generally awful, but in this case would be a relief, because AFTER their child had graduated, they would GET to miss the rest of the ceremony. In either case, though --issuing arrest warrants requiring $500 bond, each, to a family that is not well off seems both punitive and excessive.

Ellen K said...

But what happens when your family's effusive joy overshadows the presentation of some other graduate? That's what happened at my son's graduation. A very large and loud family hooted, screamed and shot off streamers for their kid, ignoring the two or three after whose families never got to hear their names announced. It's a big day for EVERYONE. Adults should realize that EVERYONE graduating is being celebrated-not just their kid.

three of clubs said...

I've been reading your blog faithfully for years. I have certainly read the posts you cite.

In this particular case though, I would urge you to consider place and time.

During the last forty years I have attended high school and college graduations where there were hijinks which would have made my mother blush except for the fact that we get inured to stupid kid stuff and since she was there, so does she. Not to mention my father who is the conservative in our family.

All I saw in the posted video was some people cheering a graduate on.

I have seen a throng of people rushing up to a stage to accept the award along with the graduate.

I have been rushed and kissed by a mob of people I didn't know. Several times. And to be honest, for me a mob means more than two.

If I saw them on a subway car, I would have sidled by.

Meaning: you have to pay attention to the culture; you have to respect the place; you have to cognizant of the time; and sometimes this kind of behavior ain't wrong.

One must create space for people to be right and a little bit wrong lest they go all wrong.

Place and time.

You teach one person and everyone feels rewarded. Give them that day, at least.

So we do not agree yet.

In incendiary times, I do think it is wise for responsible bloggers to not stoke the flames. It's too easy, and we are better than that.

Darren said...

I would turn your advice around and offer it to the disruptors: pay attention to the culture, respect the place, be cognizant of the time, and be decent to *everyone else* in the audience.

three of clubs said...

On this we agree.

But you have taught the child. You have not taught the family. I have had kids come to me later to apologize for their family's behavior.

So on the best day of this kid's life, his parent's life, you want to lock up some people? Give them some space to grow. It really doesn't happen overnight.

And as far as the reading of names, I would do the same as in every classroom with disruptive influences --- wait for a few seconds and see if it passes. Usually it does; there isn't going to be another graduation tomorrow in any case. Don't keep talking; don't keep reading. Just wait it out.

Darren said...

Our school, as well as many others, use Memorial Auditorium downtown for graduation ceremonies. There's a tight schedule for graduations, there honestly isn't time to stop and let people hoot and holler.

Ellen K said...

Most school districts have tightly scheduled back to back ceremonies due to cost and limitations on appropriate facilities. The definition "cheered too much" is often much more disruptive than that innocuous phrase. I am tired of people falling back on the excuse of culture to avoid criticism for obnoxious and inconsiderate behavior. Imagine if someone booed a kid. Would that be acceptable? Essentially by overriding everyone else's ceremony to celebrate their own kid, groups such as these show disrespect to everyone else in the auditorium. I'm sorry, but that's not acceptable. We had our entire extended family at my kids' graduations-easily over 20 folks. We didn't hoop and hollar-we didn't break out banjos and bluegrass music, we didn't set off fireworks (I'm guessing those are the alleged activities of white culture as defined by the minority community)-we applauded briefly and took photos. What's really interesting is how some of our Korean American parents view these antics. They video and photography actively but only offer slight applause. And they are incensed when their kids names are blitzed out because I've gotten emails after the fact.