Seniors, parents angry about virtual graduations in Beaufort County

VIDEO: Seniors, parents angry about virtual graduations in Beaufort County

BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Some high school seniors and parents in Beaufort County are angry that traditional outdoor graduation ceremonies won’t be held this year.

The school district says it’s too dangerous to hold ceremonies outside in football stadiums during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the district is holding virtual indoor ceremonies at each school.

Ten students at a time walk the stage and only four family members are allowed. The district is videotaping the ceremonies and will put them on social media.

Heather Butler is graduating from Beaufort High School and believes the ceremony could be held outside with proper social distancing.

“I know there’s a virus out there it has the potential to kill a lot of people and harm people, but I also know there’s a lot of seniors that really do deserve a graduation,” Butler said. “It would also give us the chance to sit down and have that closure that seniors need because we left on a Friday in March and never looked back.”

Butler led a protest march on Saturday in downtown Beaufort. Seniors wore their caps and gowns.

Parent Lori Mixson attended the protest. Mixson’s son is graduating from Battery Creek High School.

Mixson attended her son’s virtual graduation last Friday.

“It was a matter of ten seconds, there was no emotions whatsoever and you work hard for that,” Mixson said. “It’s not the district’s fault that the virus came about. But let’s give these children some type of normalcy the best we can, and I don’t feel that was taken.”

“I spent all this money you have to spend for graduation and I was like for 12 seconds to cross the stage? That’s very upsetting,” Butler said.

Schools Superintendent Dr Frank Rodriguez issued this statement on Monday: “The Class of 2020 has had to make a lot of sacrifices, and our high schools are working very hard to celebrate their achievements safely. We believe the graduation movies we’re producing and the drive-through celebrations we’re planning will be rewarding and fun for our seniors and their families.”

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