Debate continues on MCHS graduation participation rule as school year ends

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A follow up now to a story we brought you this past February: the controversial rule keeping some high school students from participating in graduation.

The number of allowed absences and tardies was lowered starting this school year, and opinions are still split months after it started.

As the school year winds down, the debate over the number of unexcused absences and tardies allowed for a graduating student continues.

“I know it is an issue,” says Karon Brown of Muhlenberg County.

“You’re going to have some that think’s it’s OK and you’ll have some that don’t like it,” adds Charles Turner of Greenville.

Some residents say the debate over the rule is as high as it was when it was first enacted, while others say it’s not as intense.  Muhlenberg County High’s School Based Decision-Making council approved the rule last year, lowering the number of allowed unexcused absences and tardies from 20 to 10.

“I think it’s fair enough. If you expect to have the privileges, you have to go to school and earn them,” says Turner.

“They’ve completed their courses, they made passing grades. I can see their point too. I understand where the schools are coming from too,” adds Brown.

Back in February, Principal Donna Bumps said the change was to make sure students developed skills, including being on time for work, once they graduate.

“I love my school. But I disagree with this rule,” says student Seth Walker, who protested the rule change earlier this week. Walker, who says the rule’s keeping him from participating, believes the total number should have stayed at 20.

“Raise it up to what it was last year, to 20 days,” he says. ”I think it’s kind of unfair to lower our number of days to 10 days to when the last class had 20 days.”

A school spokesperson says there are no plans to change the rule again. They also declined to comment on how many students are kept from participating this year due to excessive unexcused absences or tardiness.

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(This story was originally published on April 19, 2019)

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