In a split vote Wednesday, the Ketchikan School Board approved a first reading of a motion that would allow some students who haven’t yet met graduation requirements to participate in graduation ceremonies.
There was quite a bit of discussion on the motion, which was championed by Student Board Member Cheyenne Matthews. She had surveyed 76 seniors on the topic, and says the results show about half support allowing those students to participate in all graduation-related activities.
“And then 24 said that they shouldn’t be allowed to participate in any sort of activity, whether it’s graduation march or senior tea,” she said. “And then 14 stated that they should be allowed to participate in activities, but not the graduation march.”
Matthews says some students provided more detailed thoughts on the topic, and most of those said that cases should be considered individually.
“They understand that some students don’t get all the support they need at home and so there might be some circumstances that should be considered by the administrator,” she said. “So, I think if I had to speak for the whole senior class on this issue, it would be something they would like to see handled by the administrators.”
School Board members, even those who voted against the motion, basically agreed with Matthews. Those who opposed it said they just didn’t feel it should be a board policy.
Voting no were Michelle O’Brien, Trevor Shaw and Glenn Brown.
The policy states that “Under exceptional circumstances and undue hardship of the student, the superintendent or designee may grant permission to a student who is short of fulfilling district requirements, to participate in graduation exercises without receiving his (or) her diploma.”
The issue will come back to the board for a second reading.
Also Wednesday, the School Board seated three new members. Misty Archibald, Alma Parker and Matt Eisenhower won in last week’s election, and, led by Superintendent Robert Boyle, took the oath of office before assuming their seats on the School Board.
The board then chose officers for the coming year. Michelle O’Brien was elected to maintain her position as School Board President. David Timmerman was picked as vice president, and Trevor Shaw will be the clerk/treasurer.
The next regular Ketchikan School Board meeting is scheduled for October 28.