'So Embarrassed': US High School Graduate Denied Diploma For Dancing On Stage

The principal raises her arm and suggests the student go back to her seat.

A high school student from Philadelphia who graduated from Philadelphia High School for Girls was denied a diploma on the stage for dancing during the graduation ceremony on June 9, as per a report in ABC News. The video, which has gone viral on social media, shows a group of girls sitting on stage when Hafsah Abdur-Rahman, carrying a bouquet of flowers, starts dancing on the stage as she proceeds to receive her degree once her name is called. As she approaches the principal who is holding her diploma, the principal raises her arm and suggests the student go back to her seat. The headmaster then puts the diploma in a basket lying on the ground next to her.

Cruel, unconscionable

A diploma is earned, cannot be denied to a student for celebrating (by dancing,family cheering) the achievement pic.twitter.com/bDx89IzAmG

“Girls' High grad speaks out after being denied diploma on stage after dancing during ceremony” https://t.co/4URZhxXgbZ

— Dr. Malinda S. Smith (@MalindaSmith) June 16, 2023

Talking about the incident, Ms Rahman told the outlet, "She stole that moment from me. I will never get that again."

The teenager stated that their Principal Lisa Mesi had warned the students beforehand that their families or friends "could not cheer or clap when they walked on stage."

"I understood the rules because I was saying 'shh' in the video. Do not say nothing because I want my diploma. I knew and understood what we were supposed to do," she added.

"If they thought that I shouldn't do 'The Griddy' across the stage and do the Girls' High traditions, nobody should have been able to wave or blow kisses or do period signs because I feel like that's the same thing. I feel like that's unfair," Ms Rahman told ABC News.

The student said that the moment was special as it was in honour of her sibling, who was killed at the age of 14. "I was so embarrassed. I couldn't even enjoy the rest of the graduation," she remarked.

The School District of Philadelphia said in a statement to the outlet, "The District does not condone the withholding of earned diplomas based on family members cheering for their graduates. We apologize to all the families and graduates who were impacted and are further looking into this matter to avoid it happening in the future."

According to the student, the Deputy Superintendent of the school also contacted her and her mother to express regret for their experience.

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