Cabarrus Co. Schools denies senior chance to walk at graduation

- The Cabarrus County School system responded to FOX 46 Charlotte regarding their decision to not allow a student to participate in graduation, after the senior missed a rehearsal

FOX 46 Charlotte placed a number of calls and emails to the school system, asking for an explanation. When the station did not hear back, our crew showed up to the graduation before the event started.

FOX 46 requested to speak to the superintendent, principal of Northwest Cabarrus High School and the school system's media representative - none were available.

However, the chief of staff and a graduation coordinator did speak to FOX 46 Charlotte on their behalf.

They explained the graduation day policy, which is listed on the school system’s website. It states students must be present for graduation rehearsals. If not present, they will not walk.

Related: Mom hopes school will forgive 'honest mistake' and let son walk in graduation

School officials shared additional information regarding that policy, that is not listed on the system’s website, which includes an exception to the rule. If a student can provide proof/documentation that shows they had a legitimate reason to miss a rehearsal, it’s at the principal’s discretion to allow that student to participate on graduation day.

The Johnson family said they could have provided proof that the student had car problems once leaving the DMV, where he had successfully gotten his license prior to the graduation rehearsal.

The family said they weren't given the opportunity to provide the school system proof. 

“I was strictly told there was no wiggle room,” said parent, Tekora Johnson. “There was no wiggle room…those were the words I was told by the principal.”

The family said after Northwest Cabarrus High School officials told them their senior could not participate, the parents kept calling to see if there was any way to resolve the issue, but never heard back.

That’s when they reached out to FOX 46 Charlotte.

“You only get one chance to graduate high school,” said parent, James Johnson. “And to have that robbed from him and from us is just simply unheard of.”

The family plans to submit a formal complaint to the school system, county commissioners and mayor. 

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