Graduating from Gestapo High

Anybody cheers when your name’s called during commencement, and no diploma for you. Especially if you’re brown, apparently.

About a month before the May 27 ceremony, Galesburg High students and their parents had to sign a contract promising to act in dignified way. Violators were warned they could be denied their diplomas and barred from the after-graduation party. […]

In Galesburg, the issue has taken on added controversy with accusations that the students were targeted because of their race: four are black and one is Hispanic. Parents say cheers also erupted for white students, and none of them was denied a diploma.

Naturally, it’s the grads – not the celebrants – who bear the punishment for this capital offense.

School officials said they will hear students and parents out if they appeal. Meanwhile, the school said the five students can still get their diplomas by completing eight hours of public service work, answering phones, sorting books or doing other chores for the district, situated about 150 miles southwest of Chicago.

Stay classy, Galesburg.

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39 Comments

Filed under 02_waveflux

39 responses to “Graduating from Gestapo High

  1. Kate217

    WTP?!!!!!!! Fookin’ killjoys.

    Surely that’s actionable. It’s certainly objectionable.

  2. Bob in Kansas

    Just had my eldest graduate a week ago. I agree with the school board. Plenty of time before and after the ceremony for this kind of BS. Kick them and their parents out.

    It’s not about race, it’s about being disruptive.

  3. Melissa McEwan

    Especially if you’re brown, apparently.

    Obviously race has nothing to do with this story, because CNN didn’t put it in their awesome “Story Highlights” section.

    Naturally, it’s the grads – not the celebrants – who bear the punishment for this capital offense.

    This is the thing that’s completely stupid. What control over it do the grads have?! The only way this policy works is if the school assumes that every member of every grad’s family will care enough about the grad to not break the rules and do whatevthefuck they want, and I quite honestly cannot think of a person in a better position to know that sometimes kids don’t get the support and respect they need from their parents than school administrators.

    Except, of course, school teachers.

  4. What the hell? What kind of incentive is that for young brown folk to stay in school and actually study? “If people cheer for you at the graduation, you don’t graduate!”

    It’s not the heat, it’s the stupidity. Too bad the Civil Rights people at the Department of Justice are all busy investigating allegations of discrimination against (surely you’ve guessed) white Christians. Those poor oppressed people. The Jews in Egypt would’ve looked at them and said “Damn, the Man just beatin’ them down but good!”

    Except, y’know, not, ’cause, y’know, they’re. They’re. They are The Goddamn Man.

    It’s only racism if it inconveniences someone white? When did this become Opposite Land?

  5. Of course, the rule is also subject to abuse. Someone who does not like a graduate could cheer loudly out of spite. If there is really a need for silence during the ceremonies, better to eject the people making noise than take it out on the graduates.

  6. How can the school legally do that? Graduation is proof that you’ve completed certain academic requirements. It’s not a goddamn license to operate heavy machinery.

    On a side note, I wonder if they’d have held someone’s diploma because a relative screamed “Praise Jesus!” when his/her child walked across the stage? Probably not.

  7. Kate217

    It’s not the heat, it’s the stupidity

    I live in the DC area. I’m seriously considering putting this on a tee shirt.

  8. Jay in Oregon

    School officials said they will hear students and parents out if they appeal. Meanwhile, the school said the five students can still get their diplomas by completing eight hours of public service work, answering phones, sorting books or doing other chores for the district, situated about 150 miles southwest of Chicago.

    What.

    The.

    Fuck????

    Someone cheers for you at graduation and you have to do community service in order to get your diploma?

    Why is this ban on cheering even an issue? Do they have people firing off air horns? Throwing chairs? Going out into the parking lot and turning over school buses?

  9. Doktor Wankenstein

    When I graduated HS (outdoor ceremony), we kicked a soccer ball up and down the aisles.

    When my sister graduatded HS two years laster, one of the grads lit up some really smoky firecrackers.

    When I graduated college, a well-known TV personality was part of our class (he was already a minor celebrety, doing an intenship on a local TV station) — when his name was called, the crowd went wild.

    Two nights ago, DS’s high school band blew bubbles, kicked an beachball, and did the wave during their end-of-show bows… the audience loved it, but the administrators were sour on that.

    Screw the Galesburg High administration, and hurrah for the graduates!

  10. Melissa McEwan

    It’s not about race, it’s about being disruptive.

    Uh, Bob–the point is that the punishment for “being disruptive” was not consistently applied, and that the inconsistency fell noticably along race lines, according to the people singled out for punishment.

  11. Woah, it’s never good when my home town shows up on CNN. Not enough that the economy is so bad that they have to look forward to a super WalMart. Not enough that the school district had to fire their previous superintendant. No… my hometown gets to look like a bunch of racist jerks.

  12. PortlyDyke

    Jesus H. Particular Christ!!!!

    I attended my college graduation in flip-flops with a pint of tequila stuffed into the front of my tube-top, a straw protruding from the top of my robe for my convenience of refreshment.

    In a reversal of the old “we walked a mile in the snow to school”, I actually feel sorry for kids today — particularly high school kids.

  13. Dee

    Students SHOULD be cheered for completing their educations! It is a grand event and should be so noted.

    As Melissa, and all the news stories, pointed out, the punishment was not consistently applied.

  14. Huh — I’m surprised I didn’t already hear about this. I went to college in Galesburg (Knox). Definitely quite disappointing. They could learn a lesson from the College — they always make a lame announcement at the beginning not to cheer or clap, and then people do and no one says anything. Sad to see these kids denied diplomas for something so insignificant.

  15. I attended my college graduation in flip-flops with a pint of tequila stuffed into the front of my tube-top, a straw protruding from the top of my robe for my convenience of refreshment.

    I glued a cactus-shaped pinata to my mortarboard and then boogied my way across the stage when I got my diploma cover (the diplomas were mailed later). It got me in the yearbook. Another guy loaded his up with confetti poppers and shot them off on his way up the stairs. School administrators need a big dose of chill the fuck out.

  16. Doktor Wankenstein

    Incertus — I don’t know where you graduated from, but I wish I went there.

  17. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Bob my fascist darling, how about a nice steaming cup of Shut The Fuck Up? You probably voted for the Chimperor. Twice. 😛

  18. PortlyDyke

    I just ran across another article about this — apparently one of the “inappropriate or disruptive behavior”s that was banned in the contract the graduates and their families had to sign was: “non-traditional handshaking”.

    http://www.pjstar.com/stories/060107/REG_BDCJ5KSS.033.php

    So, I’m guessing that this non-traditional handshaking part was put in there to keep those wacky masons under control — it has nothing to do with race, I suppose.

    Also, isn’t handshaking a silent activity, for the most part? If the real concern is about not being able to hear the next student’s name being called out, then . . . . WTP!?

  19. Lizard

    I am doing some non-traditional headshaking right now. I’ve attended two of my four graduations. Both involved long white dresses. One involved a Maypole dance. You think I wasn’t cheering at the top of my lungs when THAT shit was over?

    I suppose I’m enough of a fogey to mourn the general loss of decorum and ceremony in our society….but this particular method of restoring it is ridiculously misguided.

  20. Nik E Poo

    Our precious society is devolving in front of our eyes.

    I only hope the students see this for what it really is … and don’t take it personal … or become lifelong cynics.

  21. Susan

    It is obnoxious when people cheer for their favorites during these ceremonies– especially when they are politely asked at the beginning to hold their applause until the end. For one thing, it makes the kids who don’t get cheered feel bad. For another, it takes forever if they have to stop calling the names and wait for the cheers and applause to die down in order to continue the roll. If they don’t wait, and keep calling the names, as they did at my daughter’s Middle School graduation a few years ago, several people can miss hearing their kids’ names called (and it doesn’t make their home movies, either; instead they get to hear someone else being cheered).

    Which reminds me– someone must have a video of this and can prove the standards weren’t applied equally, so I’ll bet there’s more embarrassment in the works for the School District.

    BTW– I don’t believe punishing the kids for their fans’ rudneness and enthusiasm is appropriate. Kicking the miscreants out won’t work, because they’ve already done what they came to do anyway. What do you think would be an appropriate consequence for disrupting the ceremony?

    Maybe they adopt the policy that some lecturers whose programs I’ve attended have if a cell phone goes off: fine them, payable on the spot. The proceeds could be used for the Grad Night party. They could double the fine for each subsequent interuption, so everyone in the audience would be forewarned.

  22. Incertus — I don’t know where you graduated from, but I wish I went there.

    Southeastern Louisiana University. The people who came there after they flunked out of LSU used to refer to it as Slow Learners University. We’d kick them in the nads for that then laugh when they flunked out again.

  23. farang

    I am assuming Galesburg High is in Tennessee? Label me shocked there are still racists in the south, ya know?

    Personally, if I were an African-American student athlete there, I’d have an “injury” right before the next big game. Tell them you have a “sore throat.”
    A “silent protest”, yeah?
    That might shut their cracker pie holes.

    I’m not certain what led to this “pact” the parents and students had to sign, any background on that? Whatever is was, it wasn’t evenly applied, now was it?

    But, as one that is farang, I can attest to the fact I have encountered the same type of treatment in places where my white face was the minority, including Africa and Asia. It’s not because YOUR skin is dark or YOUR eyes sloped, it is because it isn’t LIKE MINE. Whatever “mine” may me. And Wherever.

    But not in my own damn country. How aggravating it must be in 2007 to still have to seal with such nonsense, when so many more pressing issues face minorities in the US.

  24. farang

    “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

    Is that different then censorship? Please explain how, ‘kay?

  25. katecontinued

    Would that Chimpy McStagger could have been removed from office each and every year for the State of the Union cheering. Forced to do public service work . . .

  26. Nik E Poo

    Would that Chimpy McStagger could have been removed from office each and every year for the State of the Union cheering. Forced to do public service work

    Holy Shit! Thats fooking brilliant!!!

  27. Lizard

    Is that different then censorship?

    Uh, yeah. “Censorship” would have denied the rest of us the pleasure of reading your bigoted assumptions. (Galesburg is in Illinois, for starters. And gee, I can’t imagine why you didn’t write “If I were the African-American concertmaster of the orchestra, I’d break a string during the next concert!”)

    In this instance, see, moderation is bullshit delayed, while censorship is bullshit denied.

  28. PortlyDyke

    In this instance, see, moderation is bullshit delayed, while censorship is bullshit denied.

    TY Lizard!

  29. farang

    “Uh, yeah. “Censorship” would have denied the rest of us the pleasure of reading your bigoted assumptions. (Galesburg is in Illinois, for starters. And gee, I can’t imagine why you didn’t write “If I were the African-American concertmaster of the orchestra, I’d break a string during the next concert.”

    First, I made the assumption because of a previous comment by “Fr Chris.” I assumed he meant “Knox” meant Knoxville. So shoot me for assuming an incorrect location. Or, are you stating I am a bigot for the notion the south still has racists? Whatever.

    I’ll ask my Cameroonian wife how she feels about being married to a bigot. I love to hear her speak her French accented English to me anytime. She speaks four languages, and is the most sweet, intelligent and beautiful creature on the planet. My luckiest day was when I met Edwige Ndzana Mballa.

    My point, which is only similar in looks to the top of your head, was a “silent protest” because of the crackdown on joy being expressed verbally being denied. I suppose to satisfy your P.C.ness, I should have said ” African-American Diva of the Opera Club should clam up.” Reality tells me there are more African-American student athletes that are stars than white ones. Call me a bigot for pointing out reality, lizzie.

    Surely wasn’t meant to infer more than that, and it takes a determined effort to think you’ve found something of that nature in my comments.

    Yep, like a bigot would have said: “How aggravating it must be to deal with such nonsense when there are so many more pressing issues face minorities in the US.”

    As if it makes a difference that some bigots are in Illinois compared to Tennessee. I lived in Carpentersville, Ill. once upon a time. I still remember traveling to Michigan in the late 60’/ early 70’s, when house after house had “This family will not be bussed” in the windows.”

    For the third time, if you are paying attention: Racists and bigots are found everywhere, in all races and countries.

    So are idiots.

  30. rxl

    They threatened us with that at every graduation I went to (I had friends two year up and two years down from me in high school, so I went to a lot), but it never happened. I think the school is just as happy to get rid of us as we are to leave.

  31. Bob in Kansas

    I said: “It’s not about race, it’s about being disruptive.”

    Melissa said “Uh, Bob–the point is that the punishment for “being disruptive” was not consistently applied, and that the inconsistency fell noticably along race lines, according to the people singled out for punishment.”

    Excuse me? Is there evidence the punishment was not consistently applied? There’s certainly none in the article itself. Are you saying that because it was only applied to minority students, it HAS to have been inconsistently applied? I don’t buy it, and frankly, that sounds rather prejudicial on your part.

    As I said, I was at a HS graduation ceremony just before Memorial Day. If disruptive behavior had been punished, the guilty parties would uniformly been from supporters of the minority graduates. It startled me at the time when I noticed the disruptive behavior fell along racial lines.

    The video of my daughter receiving her degree is all the evidence I need to know I’m not the ‘fascist darling’ here. It’s a little frightening to think that you folks are so far removed from reality as to think this isn’t a frequently observed social behavior. Maybe you could set aside your ‘I’m more liberal than you’ posturing and attend a HS graduation?

    Sorry to be blunt. I find my own observations and conclusion are somewhat revolting to me. But I stand by those observations and conclusion. I think accusing the good, dedicated people who spend their lives educating these kids – all of these kids – of inconsistent behavior, without evidence, is something for which you folks should feel a little ashamed. Yes, only minorities were penalized. Sometimes thats not racism. Sometimes its being consistent.

  32. a. If the rule was not consistently applied, that is absolutely wrong.
    b. The graduates should be not be the ones punished because – as others have pointed out – someone could “cheer” for you just to get you in trouble.
    c. They should kick out the people making all the noise. I attended my own high school and college graduations as well as those of my brother. People screamed loudly (and I do mean screamed) and rudely used things like air horns, even after being asked to hold applause til the end. It’s completely disrespectful to the other graduates; they were like a bunch of fucking drunk three-year-olds. I can’t believe what little class people have. Graduation is not a football game.

  33. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    “I’m not the ‘fascist darling’ here;”–Bob in Kansas

    If it talks like a fascist, goosesteps like a fascist, and trashes minorities like a fascist…

  34. Bob in Kansas

    Hey Bill,

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Thanks,

    Bob

  35. Hey all,

    I’ll delurk a sec to share the prinicpal, Mr. Chiles’ email addy if’n anyone wanted to write to express their feeling on the matter.

    tchiles@galesburg205.org

    I read about this a few days ago and googled Galesburg High, where there website listed staff emails. I never found emails for the School Board members.

    I’ve been away from the lovely pages of Shakesville for a few days, but I should’ve known someone here was all over it.

    Peace M.H.

  36. Bob,
    Some things you may not have considered:
    Your failing to see discrimination as part of the motivation for minorities being punished and white people not being punished does not mean there wasn’t any discrimination. As an example, see just about any social situation where a rich white protestant male has some advantage, and proclaims, “seems perfectly fair to me!”

    Secondly, consider that the policy itself might be biased, not just the enforcement. Rich white protestant males can seriously halfass everything, skip class, have attitude problems, etc., and get their high school diploma on a silver platter. Those without such social advantages in many cases have to actually TRY. So when they achieve something that’s actually difficult, it makes sense that they or their families feel the need to celebrate more.

  37. Melissa McEwan

    Is that different then censorship? Please explain how, ‘kay?

    The difference is that now I’m back on the computer for the first time since you left your comment, I’ve moved it out of moderation. But congratulations on the belligerent paranoia nonetheless, ‘kay?

  38. Bob in Kansas

    Rehmeyer said: “Your failing to see discrimination as part of the motivation for minorities being punished and white people not being punished does not mean there wasn’t any discrimination.”

    Nor does your perception that there was discrimination prove that it exists.

    Rehmeyer said: “Secondly, consider that the policy itself might be biased, not just the enforcement.”

    I have no doubt it was biased against those who broke the policy. That’s kind of how policies and laws work. Whether the policy was applied differently to different racial groups is the issue here. I still see no evidence that it was. If such evidence exists, it sounds like a good lawsuit away from which someone will walk very much richer. Still looking for evidence of discrimination.

    Rehmeyer said: “So when they achieve something that’s actually difficult, it makes sense that they or their families feel the need to celebrate more.”

    So you support setting standards of behavior based on race. I find that offensive.

  39. Kathy Kattenburg

    I love how the principal of that school says it wasn’t racism, even though all the students denied diplomas were either black or hispanic, because only “significant” disruptions were penalized. Yes, and only “disruptions” by the families and friends of BLACK students and HISPANIC students were considered “significant.”

    Just infuriating. Maybe they’ll have to back down, with the story having gotten national coverage. It’s a hope, anyway.

    By the way, I went to Knox College in Galesburg for one year. I transferred to Drew University in Madison, NJ, after that because I couldn’t stand that college and that town anymore. When I was there (1968-1969), there was a saying some people used to quote, “The South begins in Galesburg.”

    It was true then, and apparently it’s still true today.

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