Letters to the Editor

Voice of the People - June 16, 2008

Graduation arrests were justified

It is not a shame that seven people were arrested at local graduation ceremonies; it is a shame that people have to be threatened before they will show some class. High school graduation is a right of passage to responsible adulthood in our society, an outward show of achievement and the promise of a bright future. It is a solemn, community event and no individual has the right to disrupt the ceremony. These yahoos think they can trample on another person's right to hear their child's name being called as they walk across the stage; they are selfish, irresponsible and they are wrong.

This year seven of these selfish people thought they would get away with this boorish behavior with a simple escort off of the premises. They could cheer, trample all over the next person, and parade out of the auditorium with a police escort. Instead, the police arrested them, and rightly so. Now, mad because they got caught and have to pay a penalty for their actions, they have gone to the national press; Rush Limbaugh is crying crocodile tears for them. Inside Edition will happily come down here and show the country what a bunch of classless rednecks the people of South Carolina are, that kind of thing gains them viewers.

The bottom line is that these people broke well publicized and well established rules and they did it deliberately in spite of the distress that their behavior caused other people. As for Miss Twitty, the police did not ruin her day, her boyfriend did by acting like a jackass.

I applaud the York County schools' policy of upholding the dignity of graduation. I commend the Rock Hill police for putting teeth into the policy, and I recommend that other schools adopt it.

Curtis LeMay

Rock Hill

Graduation arrests were excessive

As one who travels regularly for business, I have a strong sense of pride while speaking about my hometown with the people I meet.

However, with the recent disgraceful display by both the Rock Hill police and our school district officials with the arrest of seven people for cheering at a graduation, it's going to be a little difficult to retain that pride.

While I neither condone nor appreciate noisy disturbances like that in a graduation ceremony, I find the reaction to it excessive.

That statements were sent home with the graduates warning against outbursts during the ceremony is no validation, either.

It is one thing to have disruptive people asked to leave but to have them arrested and escorted out in handcuffs for basically displaying bad manners is an abuse of authority, a waste of community resources and possibly more disruptive than the infraction of cheering itself.

What have we become as a community when we are so intolerant of our neighbors that we gladly accept police action for insignificant breaches of etiquette and shrug it off by saying that they knew better since they signed a paper telling them to be quiet?

Martin Tune

Rock Hill

Arrests were restriction of right to free speech

Rock Hill makes the national news. I am fully humiliated. Parents arrested for cheering at graduation. How could Rock Hill police justify this?

There are severe restrictions on personal liberties of students every day. Their dress, their opinions, their privacy, their very speech is suppressed. They even are subjected to body searches without probable cause. Are we teaching students and now parents about their liberties? I am afraid so. Schools are a barometer of the liberties of the community. We are in trouble. In the name of order all tyranny lies.

It is beyond my understanding how the local government in the form of the schools can possibly have a parent arrested for expressing exuberance at their child's graduation. Announcing that you are going to repress free speech in advance does not diminish the fact that you are repressive. At what point does the tyranny of the teacher become excessive? At high school graduation. I am humiliated to be from Rock Hill/Fort Mill on this day. Free Speech, anyone?

Dr. Nan Saye

Rock Hill

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