Rock Hill parent Matt Smith wanted to enjoy the June 3 Rock High School graduation and watch a friend’s son walk the stage.
However, he said, disruptive spectators interrupted his experience. Smith said more than 40 people were disruptive.
“It has gotten to the point that people know they are going to be thrown out and that is all that will happen,” Smith said. “There is not enough law enforcement there to control it.”
During the June 26 business meeting, Rock Hill school board chair Jim Vining asked district administration to bring a recommendation to the school board in August regarding disruptive behavior at graduations. He said all three of Rock Hill’s high schools had problems this year.
“This year, for every school, was by far the worst graduation decorum in the 19 years that I have been on the board, in terms of crowd behavior,” he said.
This year, for every school, was by far the worst graduation decorum in the 19 years that I have been on the board in terms of crowd behavior.
Jim Vining, Rock Hill school board chair
Vining said it may be time to see if the district should do something differently.
“Basically what we do now is shush,” he said.
All four school districts in York County have the same ground rules for graduations, according to letters to the community from the school districts. Friends and family members are asked to refrain from clapping, shouting or standing until all graduates have walked across the stage.
Two people were arrested during Nation Ford High School’s May 20 graduation, said Ken Scoggins, assistant chief of the Winthrop University police department. One person was charged with public disorderly conduct and the other with trespassing.
Smith’s thoughts echo other comments on The Herald’s social media pages.
One commenter posted on a photo gallery from Northwestern High School’s June 3 graduation:
“So disappointed could not hear anything that was being said,” commented Richard Parrish. “So many disrespectful people had to make sure they were heard. Worst graduation I have been to period.”