He missed graduation rehearsal. Now school says teen can’t take part in ceremony

Graduates gather before the the start of Middle Creek High School graduation ceremonies in 2011.
Graduates gather before the the start of Middle Creek High School graduation ceremonies in 2011.

A mother of a Middle Creek High School student created an online petition urging school leaders to allow her son to take part in the school’s graduation ceremony even though he missed the rehearsal.

Georgia Rivera’s petition on had about 4,400 signatures by Wednesday afternoon.

Rivera, who does not name her son in the petition, wrote that school leaders won’t let her son participate in Saturday’s graduation in Raleigh because he did not attend the rehearsal for the event.

She wrote that the Middle Creek senior was in a car accident May 14 and has been struggling with memory issues. She said he also has attention deficit disorder, depression and anxiety.

“My son was at school taking an exam the day of the rehearsal and with his ADD he did not hear the announcement of early dismissal,” Rivera wrote, “nor did the teacher who was giving the exam tell him of this early release to be able to go to rehearsal.”

The petition on Screenshot

In the petition, Rivera wrote that school leaders say an automatic reminder about graduation rehearsal was delivered to the family. But she said they did not receive it.

All Wake County seniors are expected to attend graduation rehearsal, said schools spokeswoman Lisa Luten.

“Graduation is a production,” she said. “The students have to walk in a certain order, they have to sit in a certain row. There are a lot of moving pieces.”

Exceptions to the rule can be made for students with disabilities, but Luten said Rivera did not ask for special accommodations for her son.

She said Middle Creek principal Wade Martin talked with Rivera about the ways expectations were communicated to students.

Rivera posted an update to the petition on Wednesday recounting that meeting, which she said ended in her “storming off” angrily.

“I have pleaded and begged for them to allow my son to walk with his class,” Rivera wrote in the petition. “He has looked forward to this moment for years. This is a once in a lifetime moment and it gets ripped away?”

Gargan: 919-829-4807; @hgargan