Civil Liberties

School: You Will Be Jailed for Cheering Too Loudly at Graduation

Arrest warrants were issued



Shh! Family members of a Senatobia High School student face charges of disturbing the peace because they cheered too loudly at her graduation ceremony. That's no joke—Jay Foster, superintendent of the Mississippi school district, is pursuing charges and the police have issued arrest warrants.


Police at Northwest Mississippi Community College, where Senatobia High School's graduation ceremony was held, said the superintendent asked the crowd not to scream and to hold their applause until the end. Linda Walker, Ursula Miller and two other people were asked to leave the ceremony because they were screaming and cheering.

"When she went across the stage I just called her name out. 'Lakaydra'. Just like that," Ursula Miller told WREG.

Miller said she was then asked to leave the graduation. A few weeks later, she was served papers.

Senatobia Municipal School District Superintendent Jay Foster filed "disturbing the peace" charges against the four people who were asked to leave graduation. Officers issued warrants for their arrests with a possible $500 bond.

"It's crazy," Henry Walker said. "The fact that I might have to bond out of jail, pay court costs, or a $500 fine for expressing my love, it's ridiculous man. It's ridiculous."

Foster would not appear on camera, but told the local reporter that "it's far from ridiculous. He said he's "determined to have order at these ceremonies."

I can understand not wanting graduation ceremonies to descend into total chaos, but come on. Formal charges? Arrest warrants? It's not like these people's behavior is going to continue to be a problem: their kid graduated. Tying the family up in legal battles is a waste of time, money, and police resources.

Local authorities are always looking for new and surprising ways to practice petty vindictiveness, I guess.

The family will appear in court on Tuesday.