One last lesson to learn

Rules are meant to be broken, or at least that appears to be the case with Crestview schools’ graduation policy.

Last week the board of education voted to temporarily rescind its policy of not allowing students who had failed to pass all five sections of the Ohio Graduation Test to participate in commencement ceremonies.

The parents of one young man who had not passed one of the the OGT sections and had been barred from walking with the class, took their concerns to the board. The board called a special meeting for Saturday morning, the day before graduation, and temporarily overturned the policy.

The board contended that its current commencement policy does not mention a requirement to pass the OGT. The student had completed all other requirements for graduation, he had simply failed one section of the test.

The graduation policy also states that the student could be denied participation in the ceremony when “personal conduct so warrants.”

Two board members took the student to task for a run-in with the law and a suspension for detrimental conduct he had received earlier this year, but they still voted to rescind the policy. Because the policy was rescinded, other students in the class in similar situations were permitted to participate as well.

The board’s policy does not specifically mention the OGT, but it does say “Commencement exercises will include only those students who have successfully completed requirements for graduation,” and in Ohio, passage of the OGT is a requirement for receiving a diploma. Students start taking the test their sophomore year, giving them three chances to pass before they reach the end of their senior year.

Our question is, how many Crestview students in past years have been denied participation because of failure to pass the OGT? Perhaps if their parents had protested, they also would have been allowed to walk with their class.

No one can blame this student’s parents for doing everything in their power to protect their child’s interest, but is that all that it takes to get your way? Protest and the board will bend? What message does that impart to Crestview’s graduates as they go out into a world full of rules?

Crestview’s graduation policy may need to be amended, but the time to change it was at the beginning of the school year, not the day before graduation when pressure was being applied.