LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) – About 100 seniors at Hamilton High School in Los Angeles will not be allowed to walk at their June graduation because they had too many absences.
Students told CBS 2′ Andrea Fujii Friday they were forced to sign a contract at the start of the school year promising they would not miss more than seven days of class. Those included both excused and unexcused absences.
Senior Kevin Jennings, who is going to USC next year, said he missed eight days this year.
“I have a 4.0 GPA, I’m on the honor society, so you telling me I can’t walk the stage,” Jennings said.
Jennings says his absences were mostly for college trips that he discussed with his principal.
“I’m the first male to graduate high school, c’mon now, that’s something my father wants to see,” Jennings said.
Mica Thomas claims she provided doctor’s notes for all the days she missed, but was told she cannot walk either.
“Doing your job academically, but because of 7.8 absences, that’s going to be taken away from you, I feel like that’s really unfair,” Thomas said.
A statement from LAUSD read in part:
“Hamilton High School, like many schools in L.A. Unified, understands and promotes the benefits of good attendance… The contract adheres to the district’s goal of 96 percent attendance achievement and provides information about eligibility for participating in all senior activities.”
The students will still receive their diplomas, they just won’t be allowed to attend graduation. More than 900 people have signed a petition asking school officials to allow the students to participate in the ceremony.
“That’s one of the big milestones that everyone looks forward to, getting to graduate with all your friends in your cap and gown,” Thomas said.
Students told Fujii that they were able to work off one absence for every four hours of work they did on campus, including cleaning.