Don't arrest these families for cheering on their children at HS graduation!

  • by: Nathan Empsall
  • recipient: Jay Foster, Senatobia Municipal School District Superintendent and John Champion, Tate County District Attorney

At the Senatobia, MS, high school graduation, superintendent Jay Foster told the crowd to hold their applause until the end. If they didn't, they would be asked to leave.

What Foster didn't say is that after kicking families out for supporting their loved ones, he would also try to have them thrown them in jail.

A few weeks after shouting "You did it, baby!" - a happy, simple little thing we've all heard and even shouted ourselves at graduations - Henry Walker was served with an arrest warrant and a $500 bond for disturbing the peace. Ursula Miller faces the same, and all she shouted was her niece's name! In one of the biggest and most power-hungry overreactions I've ever heard of, Foster is pressing charges against them and two other black attendees for daring to support their loved ones with anything other than complete silence.

All of us have cheered for a sibling, child, or friend at a school graduation. All of us can relate to the joy these families felt. Superintendent Foster is acting like the tyrannical dean from Animal House, and the district attorney is validating the petty behavior.

Tell both men to drop the charges. It is unconstitutionally cruel and unusual - but mostly downright stupid - to arrest people for shouting their children's names at graduation ceremonies!

Please drop the "disturbing the peace" charges against the families and friends who cheered at the Senatobia High School graduation!

It makes sense to remove families from the premises for not observing an orderly ceremony, especially since they were warned. It is not, however, an illegal crime to proudly shout a friend's name or holler at a child "You did it, baby," and both Tate County and the Senatobia Municipal School District Superintendent look foolish for acting otherwise.

All of us have cheered for a sibling, child, or friend at a school graduation, and no one wants to live in a society where doing so sends us to jail. Arresting or fining these citizens is downright silly, as well as a cruel and unusual punishment. Please drop the charges at once!


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