Upstate senior attends graduation following social media outcry

Upstate senior attends graduation following social media outcry

GREENVILLE COUNTY, SC (WYFF) - A high school senior in the Upstate was allowed to walk at graduation Wednesday, following a groundswell of support and an active social media campaign on her behalf.

The Greenville County School District says all students must attend graduation practice if they want to walk. For Haley Coker, a senior at Blue Ridge High School in Greer, it looked like that dream had passed when she missed her practice.

On a local radio station, Coker's mother said she was working and her daughter was late because she was taking her younger sister to her awards day, and she made a mistake about the time. She said when her daughter was told she couldn't walk, she fell to her knees and cried and begged the principal.

Greenville radio station 98.1 posted a picture of Coker on their Facebook page asking for those who support her being allowed to walk at graduation despite being late to practice. They asked people to "Like" the post so that Coker would be allowed to walk at 2 p.m. As of 1 p.m., the posting had nearly 73,000 likes and nearly 8,000 shares.

In the end, Coker attended the graduation, but was seated in the front row of a separate section. When her name was called, a teacher walked Coker's diploma over to her and handed it to her.

Coker is not the only student shut out of their graduation ceremonies because they did not attend rehearsals.

Jordan Branham, a Southside High School graduate, said some of his classmates also didn't get to walk because they did not meet the requirements for whatever reason.

"That is unfortunate because these guys work so hard," said Branham. "But then again, you had to do what you do to get there and if you didn't do it, sorry."

School district spokesman Oby Lyles said graduation ceremonies are big events held in arenas and the practices ensure they run smoothly.

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