A Winthrop University student asked to leave a high school graduation ceremony because he allegedly caused a disturbance was arrested Friday after police say he jerked away from officers and yelled profanities when they tried escorting him away.
Police tried telling Jonathan Paul Simon, 20, of Fort Mill that he had to leave Fort Mill High School’s afternoon graduation ceremony at the Winthrop Coliseum because he yelled, according to a Rock Hill police report. When an officer told Simon, he reluctantly complied but refused to exit when the officer told him he would have to leave. A Rock Hill Police Department major asked Simon to leave several times, but he again refused, even as the officer gave him until the count of three to follow commands.
An officer told Simon he was under arrest and instructed him to place his hands behind his back, the report states. Simon allegedly jerked away from officers and began yelling profanities, many of which included the “F word.” Police arrested Simon and charged him with resisting arrest.
For years, York County schools have mandated that spectators at graduation ceremonies were not allowed to clap, shout, stand or take pictures. Last month, school officials disseminated an open letter to the community that was published in The Herald reminding the public to follow those requirements. It also warned that uniformed members of the Rock Hill and Winthrop University police departments would be on duty to remove, and possibly charge, spectators who ignored the guidelines.
Efforts to reach Simon on Monday were unsuccessful.