I'm writing to express my disgust with Frederick County Public Schools with regards to graduation. I've tweeted and my mother sent an email to the superintendent about FCPS not holding in-person graduations.

I realize that we're living in an uncertain time and must be extremely cautious. However, I feel as if FCPS took the lazy way out and refused to consider all the options for graduation. I'm a veteran high school teacher who has witnessed numerous graduations. I'm also a parent of a 2020 graduate.

I only have one child and I've dreamed of this day for years. My child and the entire class of 2020 has been cut short for prom, beach week, spring sports, receiving their yearbooks, spring sport pictures (paid for the yearbook and pictures), Safe-n-Sane, senior trip, and most importantly graduation. I have students who will be the first one in their family to graduate, some who will be the only one to make it this far, and me, the person with only one child.

Fortunately, my parents are still living to witness this day but they're both over 70 years old. My daughter is their only granddaughter and the first grandchild. Options, such as holding graduations at the fairgrounds while families watch on Jumbotrons from their cars or in their home school football field — again families watching on Jumbotrons in their cars.

You only need the principal and class assistant principal to distribute diplomas, the name reader in the press box, a photographer, and the seniors with masks. There are numerous school districts holding safe, physical graduations, such as Chesterfield County, Va, Deptford High School in NJ, and Richmond County high schools in Augusta, Ga.

Again, I'm not asking any other staff members, class sponsors, etc. to attend. The senior class can spread out in the stadium and football field or at the fairgrounds. FCPS is not considering all options as they are taking the lazy way out and doing what is convenient for them. The seniors don't need the superintendent or any school board members to speak at their graduations. They only need their names read and the opportunity to walk across the stage with their peers. This opportunity will never come again.

(37) comments

Educator

I'm floored by the level of ignorance some of these people have displayed. They completely missed the fact that you're a veteran high school teacher, like myself. If people don't want their children to participate in a physical graduation ceremony that's their choice. You were only mentioning your child to show another connection to the topic. The point is, as high school educators, we know and have seen the level of depression skyrocket in these students, especially the seniors. As you stated, there are some students and families who will only have this opportunity once and you're not asking any staff to participate. Your comments were for students to be given this opportunity, as other Maryland school districts are doing in July. So, it's not a state decision and funding isn't an issue. Safety, also isn't a concern because you suggested that families remain in their vehicles. Duly, we know there are special needs students - some who are 21 years old- who have looked forward to this being their only opportunity to walk across the stage and celebrate with their peers, in a safe manner. And, as seasoned high school teachers, we know that within a year or so someone in that graduating class will pass. Mentioning other pandemics and suggesting that your grandparents would harm you is a moot point. If anything they would commend you for speaking up for our senior class. This piqued my interest when I saw your headline. I refuse to belittle myself and I commend you for doing the same by not responding to these trolls who have no concern for the children we support. Kudos to those who understand the dynamics of teaching and the significance of this event. So many of our children depend on school for safety, food, shelter, consistency, and comfort. Clearly some people don't understand the impact of mental health when it's not convenient. Again, I understand that you're looking out for our children and merely suggesting that the FCPS Superintendent do the same. Yet, as we know, the people who often make these decisions aren't in the schools daily and have no idea. You're not talking about an elementary or middle school promotion, but the grand finale that our children have sought for 12/13 years. And, being a parent of teenagers or having nieces or nephews is completely different than teaching high school-aged students for years. Keep speaking up for our children because they appreciate it. [dropthemic] [thumbup]

mrnatural1

Well said Educator.

Sometimes people just like to assume the worst.

Greg F

Come on....your parents and grandparents who sacrificed something in past wars would want to reachout and punch you for your selfish thinking here. Your great grandparents would want to reach out of their graves who suffered through 1918 and the depression and do that or more. Self centered...me me me...and that's why I continue to see teens as one of the majorities that do NOT wear masks or do the right things in public. How about NO! This is where you take one for the team.

gorillagusto

You know, this kid will be paying off his chunk of the nation Corona debt for his entire life with the inevitably higher taxes we'll be paying. I think missing out on a grad ceremony is the least of his problems, ma'am.

mrnatural1

I agree with a lot of the comments here, but I'm starting to feel sorry for this lady.

IDK whether it would be possible or not, but it seems like what she is suggesting is that there might be a way to have a graduation ceremony without causing a spike in coronavirus infections.

Some states are allowing barber shops and nail salons to open, so perhaps a (relatively) safe graduation ceremony isn't that far-fetched.

hawknoah

I can't speak for all of the county high schools, but many that I've seen via social media are having photo sessions for seniors and members of their family (there is a limit to the number that can attend). The senior walks across the stage and picks up his/her "diploma" (empty diploma jacket) with photo opportunities for parents. At least it's something before the virtual graduation ceremonies.

linoscra

FCPS is having kids pick up robes and cords, walk across a stage, and pose for photos. It’s happening right now. The virtual ceremony is next week.

ValerieDale

Consistent with what I've heard from staff and parents. [thumbup]

Greg F

We already saw in several places what happened with pool parties. A grad ceremony would not end well for some.

llrowse

Exactly!!

hawknoah

Wow, I also have an only child graduating this year. And that child is the only grandchild to my parents - and my husband's. And guess what? We're all dealing with this situation just fine because we know that it's not ALL ABOUT US! Yes, we're disappointed that a traditional graduation is not taking place, but so many of the schools are doing the best they can with what they have to work with. You know what's worse than missing a graduation? Losing friends and loved ones to COVID-19 and never getting to see them again. Yes, the class of 2020 has been dealt a challenge, but so many of our young people are showing resiliency and strong character. I just wish some of the parents could do the same.

MD1756

If I had a choice I would not have attended my high school or undergraduate graduations. I had a choice for my graduate degree and chose not to attend. I do not care for graduation/award ceremonies.

llrowse

My parents made me walk. I hated every moment of that cattle call.

melbell75

I think everyone we know who has experienced this alternative as offered graduation so far has said it really has been a meaningful and more personal experience, since the kids get more time and attention during these photo ops than they would just handing out the diplomas in a long monotonous stream of students. The parents and administrators together have been making it a positive moment. I don't see any reason we can't look on the bright side right now. Getting hung up on the boring old format is not helpful.

ValerieDale

[thumbup]

DickD

It isn't just Maryland. Our granddaughter graduated from East Carolina University and they had no in person exercises. Her brother graduated from high school two weeks later and there was no in person exercises. It hurts, but the toll of sickness and death is worse.

procommunity

Well just over the border in Frankin County PA, they are giving out diplomas outside the front of the school while parents and school staff stand in front of their cars to cheer them on, the town stores posted congrats in the storefronts and cars are driving down the main street in their decorated cars honking horns! They are making it memorable, safe and beautiful! FCPS handed out food, why not hand a kid a diploma? I do not have any kids in the school, but FCPS and our community could do something! There are ways to do things safe.

Piedmontgardener

Perhaps a teacher might be aware of the sacrifices of young Americans during 1942-45 and the community's contributions to the war effort and reconsider this ill advised letter.

JaneFlower241

Another fine example of an entitled parent who has failed to teach her entitled child that sometimes there are disappointments in life. I think public health takes priority here people. I can’t help but wonder how much of this whining is actually about the graduating seniors and how much is really about the parents who continue to live vicariously through their teenage children??

kimberlyfosborne

The state would not allow any of the plans FCPS submitted. This letter does not reference that. FCPS was told they could not hold any of the various scenarios they submitted. If there is blame, it goes to the State of Maryland.

Amy Winkler

I completely agree with all of her points. There is nothing more essential to the High school experience than the things she mentions; prom, sports, beach week, yearbook etc. I am 43 years old and I still base much of my self worth on what I was and did in high school. Cheerleader, 3 proms, went with the coolest kids to both beach week and spring break. I still remember hundreds of my friends cheering for me as I walked across the stage at graduation. Heck, I didn’t learn much in school, but I sure did experience high school and isn’t that what is truly important!

gabrielshorn2013

I am 43 years old and I still base much of my self worth on what I was and did in high school. Cheerleader, 3 proms, went with the coolest kids to both beach week and spring break.

UGH. Still hangin' on to High School at 43?

Glory days, well they'll pass you by

Glory days, in the wink of a young girls eye

Glory days, glory days

Blueline

I think (hope) she was being sarcastic.

Amy Winkler

Yes, indeed

llrowse

👍

llrowse

Spot on

Dwasserba

Whaaat

rlmmkm

Please tell me this is sarcasm!!

DickD

And I thought t we went to school for an education. Thank you for letting me know it wasn't.

HappySeller2014

Either some great tounge-in-cheek sarcasm, or those helicopter blades whirling away! But, if still reliving high school at age 43, and seemingly a highlight is life, I wonder what has been going on last 25 years since turning 18?

procommunity

I think of the Special needs kids that won't go onto college and a graduation is literally everything to them! These are kids that struggled everyday, so yes as a community we should do something! Maybe the stores downtown could decorate the heck out of storefronts and we the citizens could drive decorated cars and blow horns for these kids! Like a posted before a HS in PA is handing diplomas while parents sit just outside their cars as the kids just walks past the principal. No touching just a photo in front of the school and a car parade down main street. I know I would come up to celebrate the kids.

eramey1971

I agree, the High School kids deserve a chance to have a real graduation, not to watch they're picture online. There was several other options they could have considered but choose not to.

MD1756

Go ahead and foot the bill for the other options.

HappySeller2014

Life stinks. Learning lesson here for handlng disappointment. I am more concerned about the emotional health of Frederick County graduating HS seniors who have lost a member of their immediate family to COVID-19, whether it be a parent, grandparent or sibling. Or even losing a neighbor or acquaintance.

Blueline

Style over substance. Get over it & move on with the next phase of her life.

llrowse

By all means, let’s have a full graduation, and fuel a second wave of Covid-19. The BOE, made a prudent decision to safeguard students. Social distancing among a group of teenagers? Surely you jest.

fjulia

Me, Me, Me! 100,000 dead, more than a million ill, but of course that all pales in comparison to the need for an in-person graduation. Yes, I acknowledge the importance of thus achievement, but perhaps in these extraordinary times we can make a sacrifice and instead acknowledge and mourn those who have died and will not have the opportunity to be at a future graduation.

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