Todd Starnes: Stop Acting the Fool

Graduates
Should you shout at graduations? (Flickr/Creative Commons)

A group of people in Senatobia, Mississippi, have been charged with disrupting a high school graduation ceremony by hootin', hollerin' and carryin' on like their mommas didn't raise 'em right.

Three family members were served warrants for allegedly disturbing the peace at the Senatobia High School graduation ceremony on May 21. The warrants threaten jail time and a $500 bond. A fourth excessive shouter is still on the loose and has not been served.

"It's crazy," Henry Walker told television station WREG. "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." 

Ursula Miller got collared after she gave her niece a shout-out.

Well, there's a bit more to this story, according to Jay Foster, the superintendent of the school system—and the man who swore out those warrants.

Four years ago the high school graduation ceremony in Mississippi's Five Star City resembled an episode of The Jerry Springer Show.

"That's what we felt like our graduation ceremony had been turned into," Foster told me. "It was who can be the loudest—who can take the attention away from the kids the most."

That was Foster's first year on the job, and what happened during that ceremony left an indelible mark.

"There was yelling and catcalling and people would get up and leave while we were calling out students' names," he said. "A family came up to me afterwards and said they had enjoyed their 12 years here but it was a shame that their last impression of Senatobia High School was graduation. They didn't even get to see their daughter or hear their daughter because of all the noise and the way people acted."

The district implemented a number of policies and procedures meant to restore order and decorum to high school graduation.

"We feel an obligation to all our graduates—not just the ones whose parents decide they want to excessively celebrate," Foster said.

But that still did not stop a group of four individuals from disrupting this year's festivities.

"They would get up and move around the coliseum and holler out—knowing someone was coming to get them—but basically they were saying to us, 'There's nothing you can do—we're going to disrupt it anyway,'" he said. "It was a blatant disregard for authority."

Some folks have tried to make the issue about race, but Foster pointed out that two of the individuals are black and two are white.

Foster has been castigated in both the mainstream media and the conservative media. But he said he believes he did the right thing—and I guarantee you that folks will think about misbehaving in the future.

"I am compelled to do what I think is right for all our graduates," he said. "That's part of what's wrong with our society today. Everything is about 'me.' 'I have a right to disrupt if it's for my child.'

"But you are not thinking about the other 102 kids sitting there. They have every right to be heard and seen and recognized."

Remember, folks ... It's a high school graduation ceremony—not a professional wrestling match. So stop acting the fool.

"I can understand they can escort me out of the graduation, but to say they going to put me in jail for it. What else are they allowed to do?"

Todd Starnes is host of "Fox News & Commentary," heard on hundreds of radio stations. Sign up for his American Dispatch newsletter, be sure to join his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter. His latest book is God Less America.


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