The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


June 8, 2012

LEVINE: Punishment overreaching at graduation ceremonies

CLINTON — I don’t remember much about my high school graduation, but I’m pretty sure police didn’t haul away any parents in handcuffs.

Unfortunately for a South Carolina girl, she won’t have similar memories from her commencement ceremony.

According to several reports, South Carolina police arrested Shannon Cooper last weekend for cheering for her daughter during graduation ceremonies at South Florence High School in South Carolina. She was escorted out of the building in front of all the graduates, and then sat in a police van outside for the duration of the ceremony.

That seems a little harsh, but I figured it was just one occurrence in the vast array of graduation ceremonies. I was wrong.

Another incident involving excessive cheering occurred in Cincinnati, where a student had his diploma withheld for his family’s rowdy applause.  

OK, so this is getting out of hand.

What’s wrong with a little cheering?

I understand that it’s not “fair” for some students to get loud applause while others walk across the stage with near silence. If schools are preparing students for the real world, this is not the way.

Unfortunately no one cheers for me while I sit at my desk on a daily basis, but I don’t need “Big Brother” to install an applause track near my chair so I feel good about myself, just so I can say my job is as important as some sports star or musical act.

For some people, graduating high school is a major step. I never pictured myself without a high school diploma, so it wasn’t that big of a deal for me. But for some, this occasion marks something not seen in their entire family.

So a little — or a lot — of cheering is understandable. School isn’t prison, no matter how much some administrators want it to be.

Luckily, no area schools have stooped to this level of discipline.

Sure, some schools are somehow upset about the rowdy crowds, but once in a while common sense should prevail. There’s no sense in dragging someone out of a commencement ceremony in handcuffs and it’s absurd to deny a student a diploma for their family’s reaction.

The student worked hard to earn the diploma, and the school is stepping out of bounds in this situation.

Hopefully, we won’t have to cover any of these stories in our area in the future. Luckily our school personnel recognize the uniqueness of graduation and can use common sense when hosting this kind of event.

Scott Levine is the Associate Editor of the Clinton Herald.

Text Only
  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Basketball stars may linger on campus a while longer

    The NBA seems serious about raising its minimum age, which could signal the end of the one-and-done era in college basketball.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Race card season again? After years of mostly hedging any suggestion that racism has anything to do with President Barack Obama's ferocious opposition, there's a new racial etiquette in town. Top Democrats are slipping off the kid gloves. "To a significant extent, the Repub

    April 21, 2014

  • Report suggests a reasonable approach Illinois has long had the most units of government in the nation - 6,963 at last count. Do we need so many taxing districts to provide governmental services across the Land of Lincoln? Supporters and opponents of the status quo can both find somethin

    April 21, 2014

  • Stand up against child abuse April is National Child Abuse Month and I would like to take a moment to share that our children are precious and Clinton County has one of the highest in the state when it comes to children who have been abused. You are able to check the statistics

    April 19, 2014

  • Bills to move quickly in final days Tuesday marks the 100th and last day of this scheduled session. After Tuesday, clerks will be sent home and legislators driving and living expenses will no longer be paid by the state. That usually means remaining legislation and Fiscal Year 2015 bu

    April 19, 2014

  • Reducing money's influence in politics The (Crystal Lake) Northwest Herald There's no doubt that money influences politics -- in big ways. Big money influences politics in even bigger ways, sometimes leading to corruption. That's why there are federal caps on the amount of money someone c

    April 19, 2014

  • Looking for love in all the wrong places This classic Dear Margo column was published in April 2008. DEAR MARGO: I'm 30 years old and have been married to an incredible, loving, caring man for 10 years. We have a beautiful family and we adore our children. Our sex life was pretty boring at

    April 19, 2014

  • Letter to the Editor: Local firefighters' union speaks out on proposed contract

    Dear citizens/taxpayers of Clinton:
    The members of Local 609 feel that it is our duty to inform the citizens of Clinton that the article titled “‘Fair offer’ differences” in the April 9, 2014 edition of the Clinton Herald was full of inaccurate statements regarding our negotiated contract proposal with the city. These incorrect statements could impact the use of your city funds negatively and unduly influence our elected representatives. So, we would like to address these points, as follows:

    April 18, 2014

  • Local firefighters' union speaks out on proposed contract Dear citizens/taxpayers of Clinton: The members of Local 609 feel that it is our duty to inform the citizens of Clinton that the article titled "'Fair offer' differences" in the April 9, 2014 edition of the Clinton Herald was full of inaccurate state

    April 18, 2014

  • The lesson of 'Camp David' The line between determination and delusion can be obscure. Sometimes, the distinction emerges only in retrospect, like a Polaroid image slowly appearing. In other instances, the difference between productive grit and self-defeating obsession is an a

    April 18, 2014


With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

     View Results