Change.org petition calls for traditional graduation in Palm Beach County

PALM BEACH COUNTY — A lady named Jennifer Balton has filed a petition on change.org asking authorities to “Reschedule Palm Beach County Class of 2020 Graduation.” If you want to join the multitudes — actually, more than the population of Pahokee — who are getting behind it, go to change.org and search for Palm Beach County School District.

In just a couple of days (she started it Wednesday, April 22), Ms. Balton’s plea already has 15,521 of the goal of 25,000 signatures to place it before Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy, as of noon Thursday. Dr. Fennoy announced recently that all graduation ceremonies for county schools would be of the “virtual” variety, after canceling the coastal schools’ traditional ceremonies that take place at the South Florida Fairgrounds in suburban West Palm Beach.

Ms. Balton’s petition reads: “Miami-Dade County School District (4th largest School District in the US) has committed to their Class of 2020 graduates that they will receive a traditional graduation ceremony.

• Every single student shall be recognized in a very personalized way, with cap and gown and all the pomp and circumstance,” said (Superintendent Alberto) Carvalho. “There will be music. There will be long speeches.”

• District officials said the second ceremony will be in person once stay-at-home orders are relaxed, and they’ll look just like what every high school graduate has received in the past.

• (Carvalho said these second ceremonies could be later in the summer or even in the fall or winter, depending on when restrictions are relaxed.)

“Yet the Palm Beach County School District (11th largest school district in the U.S.) says, ‘Please know that the district is monitoring the situation closely, hoping that there may be a possibility that schools can coordinate recognition events in late summer.’

“Recognition Events & Virtual Graduations are not the same as a Traditional Graduation with Pomp & Circumstance, which these students have worked for all these years. The Palm Beach County School District needs to stop using vague references and commit to celebrating their Class of 2020 graduates with a traditional graduation ceremony.”

She later added to those thoughts: “To cancel it (graduation) without an alternative is heartbreaking. We understand the uncertainty of the world due to COVID-19, but as parents we cannot let this stand and demand the School Board make alternative plans like Indian River County and reschedule graduation in June with an alternative date in July.”

This is the link to the secure web page where anyone can sign the petition:
change.org/p/palm-beach-county-school-district-reschedule-palm-beach-county-class-of-2020-graduation?signed=true
Chris Felker can be reached at cfelker@newszap.com.

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