Official keeps mum on whether he will drop graduation charges
The Mississippi school superintendent who pressed charges against people for cheering at a high school graduation ceremony says he plans to be in court Tuesday and make a statement then, but won’t say if he’ll drop the charges.
Senatobia School Supt. Jay Foster reiterated in a telephone interview Friday that his aim is to ensure that some families don’t ruin graduations for others by raising a ruckus. He said that when he first started at Senatobia four years ago, out-of-control cheering meant some families couldn’t hear a graduate’s name called or see them cross the stage to receive their diploma.
“I think graduation should be a solemn occasion,” he said. “It should have some dignity and decorum and at the end we’ll celebrate together.”
He said he filed misdemeanor, disturbing- the- peace charges against three people because they disobeyed repeated instructions to hold cheers at the May 21 event. Before filing the charges, which carry a fine of up to US$500 and jail time of up to six months, Foster said he consulted with school board members, administrators and the district’s lawyer.
Those who called reporters to complain were African-American, but Foster denies any racial animus, noting that two black people and two white people were escorted out. Foster has said the fourth person’s identity is unknown, and so that person has not been charged.