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Think twice before cheering at your kid’s graduation

Graduating students.

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Graduation ceremonies can run long, especially in a stifling high-school gym. And pretty much everyone is sitting in those plastic chairs just to hear their own kid's name. So after four years of essays and exams and general teenage turmoil, can you blame a parent for letting out a whoop or two when the paper is finally in their offspring's sweaty hands?

Be careful though, at least in the United States, as the school might call the cops on you – or withhold your child's diploma.

Apparently some American school officials are taking the "hold-the-applause" announcement as more than a mannerly suggestion.

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In South Carolina, ABC news reports, one mom was escorted from the building in handcuffs after cheering too loudly for her daughter.

Students from three high schools were graduating at one time, according to the report, and school officials had repeatedly warned parents that anyone heard yelling during the roll call would be "escorted from the building and that people who were disorderly while being led out would be arrested." The mom in question, Sharon Cooper, denies that she caused a scene, but she was placed in detention and charged with disorderly conduct.

That's not all: ABC also cites an Ohio example, in which a student's diploma was withheld and he was ordered to complete 20 hours of community service when family and friends cheered too loudly while he was onstage. And in Tennessee, a group of students temporarily lost their diplomas for decorating their graduation caps against school rules.

The response to the no-cheering crackdown has been mixed, with some readers of the Atlantic Journal Constitution pointing out that it is a ceremony, not a party.

Another reader also recalled her son's graduation, where some overzealous family members whipped out air horns.

Perhaps when schools have to resort to arresting proud mothers – and when cheering has to be artificially programmed into the event – it's time to think of a better design for a graduation ceremony. In the meantime, parents had better keep the noise down on the big day. As long as the principal still has the paperwork, schools get to make the rules.

Are graduation ceremonies getting too rowdy? Is there a better way to handle the ceremony altogether?

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About the Author

Erin Anderssen writes about mental health, social policy and family issues. More

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