Student Denied Diploma After Blowing ...

Student Denied Diploma After Blowing Kiss

There are 20 comments on the KVVU-TV Henderson story from Jun 16, 2009, titled Student Denied Diploma After Blowing Kiss. In it, KVVU-TV Henderson reports that:

STANDISH, Maine -- Justin Denney's family watched as he ascended the Cumberland County Civic Center stage during graduation Friday night to accept his diploma, but the superintendent told him to return to his seat.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at KVVU-TV Henderson.

Gary Duncan

Endicott, NY

#1 Jun 17, 2009
Bonnie:
Give the kid his diploma!!!
In these days when young people are being criticized for being disrespectful and lacking in family values I am appalled that you would even consider the actions you took when he "blew a kiss to his family".
Maybe, if you went back to the basics of teaching readin', writin' and arithmetic, we wouldn't be in the position we currently find ourselves in.
Let's get real and use some logic for a change!!!
He didn't pull a weapon........he didn't disrespect anyone........he blew a kiss to a family.
It's adminstrative "educators" such as yourself that give the good ones a bad name.
Perhaps you should reevaluate your values and re-examine your priorities.
Resign if you can't find the compassion in your heart that everyone in your position should have.
Gary Duncan
Comment

Albany, NY

#2 Jun 17, 2009
This superintendent sounds like a miserable loser. She should do the honorable thing and resign her position. For Christ's sake! They're getting upset over beach balls at a graduation ceremony! The administrators seem like arrogant idiots! The kids that didn't get their diplomas last Friday deserve an appology from these screwball administrators. If they refuse, then they should be fired!
Doug Nutter

United States

#3 Jun 17, 2009
This morning I have visions of graduates in jackboots marching in lockstep across the stage. I know that is fanciful but news accounts of having a child's diploma withheld for bowing and blowing a kiss to mom strikes me as being one of the most un-American acts that I have witnessed in recent times. It strikes against motherhood and apple pie.

If your School Area District 6 Superintendent Suzanne Lukas represents you and the rest of your community with her despicable behavior, you may as well take down your invitation to have new businesses relocate to your community. You don't deserve it. That we have sons and daughters in the armed forces fighting and dying to protect the like of Ms. Lukas is sickening.

I and others have no means of directly influencing how your community conducts its responsibilities except through expressing our thoughts and keeping your conduct in the back of our minds when doing business. Whether Ms. Lukas is fired or disciplined for her bad judgement depends on her overall job, but if she is not, other public administrators will continue to feel no fear of consequences for bad judgement. That, to a large degree is one of the major problems affecting this country today. The student's bow and blowing a kiss to mom was hardly bad judgement. A show of appreciation to mom should be celebrated, not punished. If you manage to straighten this mess out, I can only hope the media will point it out to the rest of the Nation. I'm not optimistic. Good luck.

Doug Nutter
Kearney, Nebraska
Anne Lamborn

AOL

#4 Jun 17, 2009
The superintendent has my full support for trying to keep order at Commencement. The commencement activities at the high school where I teach and at many other schools, has become a joke, a show, in which students do all sorts of things to draw attention to themselves at Commencement. It is boring for the audience to sit through, and the evening drags on and on. Many people are now refusing to attend Commencement because all meaning of the exercise has been lost.

Sadly, but predictably, when a student decides to buck the system, too often the parents are the ones to jump to their son's defense. One wonders where the student got this boorish behavior in the first place! It used to be the case that if someone got in trouble in school, he would be in more trouble when he got home. Today, however, rather than being angry with their child, parents become defensive and insist that Johnny can do no wrong. Yes, Johnny CAN do wrong, and parents should be grateful that school officials are attempting to maintain decorum. This particular student's mother seems terribly vocal and seriosly misguided. No wonder he son showed off! If the graduating class has a party following Commencement, THAT is the place for bowing and blowing kisses. The ceremony was not designed for one immature "child star" to show off. He can show off until the cows come home AFTER he graduates.

If bowing and blowing mama a kiss isn't grandstanding, what is? If the people of Standish don't want to see their Commencements turned into raucous shows, they should support this superintendent unanimously in what she is trying to accomplish. My hat goes off to her.

I love young people, and I know how much fun they can be. That's why I am a teacher. Hoqever, if this young man or any other student, cannot abide by the rules of the exercise, they do not deserve to graduate. Give this young man a summer school course in etiquette, and allow him to graduate in the fall. Remember, it only takes one fool to start the ball rolling. Stop it now. Don't wish later that you had! Otherwise, I can guarantee that today's bow and kiss will be tomorrow's toilet paper streamers and horns blowing after each student's name is called. Commencement, as we knew it, will be a thing of the past.

Anne Lamborn
Concord, CA
Tara from LasVegas

Las Vegas, NV

#5 Jun 17, 2009
No way beach balls, silly string, and blowing a kiss to mOm! what have our youth become?.. have we not taught them respect for adults and authority?

i think some pissy admin. adult, probably one on a PMS rampage, just decided to make an obscene example out of one youth , a boy no less, who has so much love and compassion for his mom that he would blow a kiss to her in front of his entire senior class! i give you my utmost respect, now that you have graduated high school, you have already learned that you don't always have to conform, be who you are, choose the right moments to be outside the box! Whoever that admin. was that made that stupid decision just made you today's hero!!!!
Cinderalla

United States

#6 Jun 17, 2009
Gary Duncan wrote:
Bonnie:
Give the kid his diploma!!!
In these days when young people are being criticized for being disrespectful and lacking in family values I am appalled that you would even consider the actions you took when he "blew a kiss to his family".
Maybe, if you went back to the basics of teaching readin', writin' and arithmetic, we wouldn't be in the position we currently find ourselves in.
Let's get real and use some logic for a change!!!
He didn't pull a weapon........he didn't disrespect anyone........he blew a kiss to a family.
It's adminstrative "educators" such as yourself that give the good ones a bad name.
Perhaps you should reevaluate your values and re-examine your priorities.
Resign if you can't find the compassion in your heart that everyone in your position should have.
Gary Duncan
Maybe the county will have enough sense to get rid of this hard nosed superintendent. Someone like this should not be in charge. You need people with common sense to run things. This person is seriously missing common sense.
Cinderalla

United States

#7 Jun 17, 2009
Anne Lamborn wrote:
The superintendent has my full support for trying to keep order at Commencement. The commencement activities at the high school where I teach and at many other schools, has become a joke, a show, in which students do all sorts of things to draw attention to themselves at Commencement. It is boring for the audience to sit through, and the evening drags on and on. Many people are now refusing to attend Commencement because all meaning of the exercise has been lost.
Sadly, but predictably, when a student decides to buck the system, too often the parents are the ones to jump to their son's defense. One wonders where the student got this boorish behavior in the first place! It used to be the case that if someone got in trouble in school, he would be in more trouble when he got home. Today, however, rather than being angry with their child, parents become defensive and insist that Johnny can do no wrong. Yes, Johnny CAN do wrong, and parents should be grateful that school officials are attempting to maintain decorum. This particular student's mother seems terribly vocal and seriosly misguided. No wonder he son showed off! If the graduating class has a party following Commencement, THAT is the place for bowing and blowing kisses. The ceremony was not designed for one immature "child star" to show off. He can show off until the cows come home AFTER he graduates.
If bowing and blowing mama a kiss isn't grandstanding, what is? If the people of Standish don't want to see their Commencements turned into raucous shows, they should support this superintendent unanimously in what she is trying to accomplish. My hat goes off to her.
I love young people, and I know how much fun they can be. That's why I am a teacher. Hoqever, if this young man or any other student, cannot abide by the rules of the exercise, they do not deserve to graduate. Give this young man a summer school course in etiquette, and allow him to graduate in the fall. Remember, it only takes one fool to start the ball rolling. Stop it now. Don't wish later that you had! Otherwise, I can guarantee that today's bow and kiss will be tomorrow's toilet paper streamers and horns blowing after each student's name is called. Commencement, as we knew it, will be a thing of the past.
Anne Lamborn
Concord, CA
When they get rid of the superintendent...then they need to get rid of you also. Then lucky for our children that will be two nuts out of the way.
Mike Cresci

Healdsburg, CA

#8 Jun 17, 2009
The punishment should fit the crime. The holding of a diploma that took years of work is incongruant wit the "crime" of blowing a kiss.
Anne Lamborn wrote:
The superintendent has my full support for trying to keep order at Commencement. The commencement activities at the high school where I teach and at many other schools, has become a joke, a show, in which students do all sorts of things to draw attention to themselves at Commencement. It is boring for the audience to sit through, and the evening drags on and on. Many people are now refusing to attend Commencement because all meaning of the exercise has been lost.
Sadly, but predictably, when a student decides to buck the system, too often the parents are the ones to jump to their son's defense. One wonders where the student got this boorish behavior in the first place! It used to be the case that if someone got in trouble in school, he would be in more trouble when he got home. Today, however, rather than being angry with their child, parents become defensive and insist that Johnny can do no wrong. Yes, Johnny CAN do wrong, and parents should be grateful that school officials are attempting to maintain decorum. This particular student's mother seems terribly vocal and seriosly misguided. No wonder he son showed off! If the graduating class has a party following Commencement, THAT is the place for bowing and blowing kisses. The ceremony was not designed for one immature "child star" to show off. He can show off until the cows come home AFTER he graduates.
If bowing and blowing mama a kiss isn't grandstanding, what is? If the people of Standish don't want to see their Commencements turned into raucous shows, they should support this superintendent unanimously in what she is trying to accomplish. My hat goes off to her.
I love young people, and I know how much fun they can be. That's why I am a teacher. Hoqever, if this young man or any other student, cannot abide by the rules of the exercise, they do not deserve to graduate. Give this young man a summer school course in etiquette, and allow him to graduate in the fall. Remember, it only takes one fool to start the ball rolling. Stop it now. Don't wish later that you had! Otherwise, I can guarantee that today's bow and kiss will be tomorrow's toilet paper streamers and horns blowing after each student's name is called. Commencement, as we knew it, will be a thing of the past.
Anne Lamborn
Concord, CA
Cinderalla

United States

#9 Jun 17, 2009
Anne Lamborn, Blowing a kiss to someone is merely a show of affection. It is not a disruptive action.(Your statement)"todays bow and kiss will be tommorrow's toliet paper"?? GET REAL...(Your statement)"It only takes one fool to start the ball rolling"??...WELL, first the superintendents actions...Then your post. There was nothing wrong with the young boys actions. Nothing lacking civility.
Lance

AOL

#10 Jun 17, 2009
Ms. Lukas,

I am emailing you today after seeing the story on the news about you and student Justin Denney. I am a single parent to a 17 year old boy in high school. He will graduate next year and is very excited about it. It is a huge achievement these days for a child to go through school and walk across that stage to receive their diploma. With all the problems and challenges children face today, that is one thing they can be proud of. It is also the beginning to a path of self confidence and accomplishment, something they will never forget. I am sure Justin Denney will never forget his graduation, but not for the positive feeling of accomplishment. No, you decided to take that 1 little piece of pride away from him. Why? Because he blew his mother a kiss. A heartfelt gesture that I am sure brought his mother to tears. Right up till you told him to sit down. Crushing this young man and his mother's dreams of this day. 18 years in the making all controlled by you.

When I graduated we were told to not be disrespectful. My mother spent hours helping me with homework, projects, preparing for tests and waking up 2 hours early to make sure I was ready to get on that school bus. She worked a full time job and still put herself second to me. So, when I walked across that staged I yelled thanks mom. You know what my superintendent said when he handed me my diploma after my acknowledgement to my mother... he said well done, your mother is proud today, smiled and went on to the next student.

What make you think this was disruptive to the ceremony? You are supposed to be a leader, advisor and mentor to these children in your charge. Well Ms. Lukas, you have failed. Shame on you for crushing this young man. How selfish it is that you could not appreciate the sentiment he was giving his mother. You do not belong in a career that provides role models to our teens. You do not deserve the right to call yourself a superintendent of a public school system. If I lived in your district, I would make sure you would not have the ability to do this again to another young person on their biggest day. I would vote you out. Just remember who pays you...we do, the taxpayers. If you were a decent human being, you would publicly apologize to this young man and his family, then resign your position and let someone that has compassion and understanding take the lead.

I have seen a lot of bad things people do to our kids, but humiliating them while they are at their most proud moment because they blew a kiss to their mother makes me sick. Think about...

Sincerely
Lance Hendrix
Orlando, FL
Comment

Albany, NY

#11 Jun 17, 2009
Anne Lamborn wrote:
The superintendent has my full support for trying to keep order at Commencement. The commencement activities at the high school where I teach and at many other schools, has become a joke, a show, in which students do all sorts of things to draw attention to themselves at Commencement. It is boring for the audience to sit through, and the evening drags on and on. Many people are now refusing to attend Commencement because all meaning of the exercise has been lost.
Sadly, but predictably, when a student decides to buck the system, too often the parents are the ones to jump to their son's defense. One wonders where the student got this boorish behavior in the first place! It used to be the case that if someone got in trouble in school, he would be in more trouble when he got home. Today, however, rather than being angry with their child, parents become defensive and insist that Johnny can do no wrong. Yes, Johnny CAN do wrong, and parents should be grateful that school officials are attempting to maintain decorum. This particular student's mother seems terribly vocal and seriosly misguided. No wonder he son showed off! If the graduating class has a party following Commencement, THAT is the place for bowing and blowing kisses. The ceremony was not designed for one immature "child star" to show off. He can show off until the cows come home AFTER he graduates.
If bowing and blowing mama a kiss isn't grandstanding, what is? If the people of Standish don't want to see their Commencements turned into raucous shows, they should support this superintendent unanimously in what she is trying to accomplish. My hat goes off to her.
I love young people, and I know how much fun they can be. That's why I am a teacher. Hoqever, if this young man or any other student, cannot abide by the rules of the exercise, they do not deserve to graduate. Give this young man a summer school course in etiquette, and allow him to graduate in the fall. Remember, it only takes one fool to start the ball rolling. Stop it now. Don't wish later that you had! Otherwise, I can guarantee that today's bow and kiss will be tomorrow's toilet paper streamers and horns blowing after each student's name is called. Commencement, as we knew it, will be a thing of the past.
Anne Lamborn
Concord, CA
Anne, get a grip! Life is too short....stop making a mountain out of a mole hill. The guy blew a kiss to his mother. You're acting like he flipped the bird to the teachers and administrators. Too bad he didn't. Seems that that would have been the appropriate thing to do with this arrogant joke of a superintendent. I hope that she learns her lesson now that her name has been plastered all over the world for being an idiot.
disgusted

Blountstown, FL

#12 Jun 18, 2009
Come on. You have got to be kidding. The kid was penalized for blowing a kiss?

It would have been different if he flipped off someone!

Don't you people in Maine have a moose to catch or something?
Cat

Dillon, SC

#13 Jun 18, 2009
Here is my take on this ludicrous situation. This is just really dumb on their part. Thank heavens my children and I do not live in Maine. We have our own website in this eastern TN community dealing with control issues adversely affecting children. http://www.myhometownpeeps.info

Here is the letter I sent to all whacked school officials and Board Members on this subject.

Hello. I read with interest that this school denied a senior high school student his diploma for simply blowing his mother or family members a "kiss" during graduation ceremonies. I find this to be appalling and simply displays the overt control issues of your own administration. I have four children and can certainly think of matters more serious than this that warrant this sort of behavior on the part of your administration. To deny this child his diploma for this reason is reprehensible. Obviously you all do not run a school system, but a penal institution, of which I am sure that this child is glad to be rid of.

Administrators should keenly remember that public school is a business and parents are often the hard working entities that fund that system and pay your salaries. To conduct this sort of sanction is nothing short of demoralization in an effort to show that child "who is boss." Is that all your school system is about? I shudder to think.

I am very glad we are not consumers in this school district. This is not only appalling, but ridiculous and simply shows the rest of the world the same thing. Hopefully, enough noise will be made to overhaul your controlling and demeaning administration. If I lived, worked, and raised children here, I certainly would be one of the ring leaders to do just that, as that sort of mentality went out years ago, in progressive education.

Perhaps you all try to censor your students, but can you now censor the rest of the world from their opinion?

Perhaps that should be pondered. Obviously, you all have some sort of history of this sort of appalling behavior.

Perhaps many there, especially in administration, need a refresher course in child development?

Very Sincerely,
A NC Mom

Browns Summit, NC

#14 Jun 19, 2009
Hail to all of you who have told these administrators off! By all means let's educate our children to be cold and unfeeling!! They took a once in a lifetime event for that family and made it a nightmare. I hope everyone who has ever had a feeling calls, writes, e-mails, texts, and any other means to let these so called administrators know what fools they have made of themselves and their school system. I always wanted to visit ME in the Fall.........not anymore....afraid if I smiled at the turning leaves I may get arrested!! Shame, shame, shame on you - I hope you are made to aopologize to the family, city, state - hell the whole country!! and not in private out where all can see!!
An Indiana Observer

Notre Dame, IN

#15 Jun 19, 2009
I saw the news about this whole incident and was intrigued to find out what your community was saying about it. Predictable. Parents defending their children's misbehavior. Did you see in the videos that they want some kind of monetary compensation? If my child signs an agreement to not wear certain items at commencement then I expect her to honor her signature on the agreement. If she does not do that, I would probably defend her but also ask for her to accept responsibiity for breaking her promise. He was being rebellious by stopping on the stage and pulling out cords that he knew were not allowed. He acted in the moment and did not think about the consequences. When he made the decision to dishonor his promise he has to be held accountable for his actions. The majority of your community who is supporting him is teaching him a great lesson. Do not follow the rules. Do not respect the rules of school. Your signature on an agreement means nothing. Do not respect staff. Find a way to profit in every situation. Good job, people of the great state of Maine.
Hindsight

United States

#16 Jun 19, 2009
IN response is par, one can sure tell what state they are from and their holier than thou attitude.

Kids will be kids. It is not as if the kid drew out a gun and threatened to kill everyone in attendance.

Some school officials as well as some obtuse parents need to learn something about kids, and get off their control kick. You guys in ME certainly are an embarrassment to school systems everywhere.

Children are not robotical nor should they be treated as such. Additionally, they are not miniature adults. Your control issues should not be made to be theirs.

Standish ME certainly has made a name for itself. Kuddos to you for your backward mentality.

OH, and I read your board policies and procedures and it seems that the public is not invited to speak out about personnel matters which adversely affect children...at all. Suppose you all protect your controlling inept staff and the good ones simply move on...right?

Seems you make your own problems.
frank

Pittsburgh, PA

#17 Jun 19, 2009
don't think any speaking out about personnel matters would adversely affect the children....they'd probably be elated if she was fired!
Hindsight

Utica, KY

#18 Jun 22, 2009
I agree. She should be fired. Someone indicated that this so called board member blowing fire and sparks in Standish ME ran uncontested and has apparently appointed himself to be the head "dog" and bullies the other board members into doing what he desires and into thinking his way.

Any school system that will not allow parents (who are the primary bearers of the cost of this school system) not to speak about "anyone employed" by the this school system, needs a gross overhaul and a kick in the tush. Check this out...taken right off their website.

"This does not mean they are public meetings in the same sense as a "town meeting". There is no statutory requirement in Maine that the public be permitted to speak at Board meetings. However, the Board welcomes comments and concerns related to the matters under consideration by the Board, within the guidelines set forth in Board policy "Public Comment at Board Meetings" (Code BEDH)"

Now if you open the following link which is what Board policy is, one sees this blurb in pdf format.

"H. No complaints or allegations will be allowed at Board meetings concerning ANY person employed by MSAD 6 or against particular students. Personnel matters or complaints concerning student or staff issues will not be considered in a public meeting but will be referred through established policies and procedures."

Now folks remember who makes the policies and procedures?(P&P)?...the school employees! So why not write them to insulate and protect their own? So what this essentially means, is the public (comprised of hardworking parents galore who fund this inept system) cannot rid the bad apples easily...and the politics within simply continues and thrives, which does not fare well for progressive education. Geez Louise, this is as backward as TN and their post civil war mentality. One would think Yankees in the North would be much more progressive!

Sounds pretty backward and good ole boy to me! Small wonder there are problems, as this gives the control freaks on the Board and in the school system free reign...even to deny a kid his diploma for simply exhibiting some excitement, and blowing his mom a kiss! Next, they will publicly admonish someone for wearing stripes.

How pathetic.

Another Tennessean

Cookeville, TN

#19 Jun 22, 2009
Quite embarrassing for the city, the school board, the principle and the faculty! My congratulations to Mr. Denney. Don't let the inconsiderate actions of others detract from the celebration of your accomplishment. I'll look forward to reading positive things about you in the future.
Stuck in Florida

Santa Rosa Beach, FL

#20 Jun 29, 2009
I thought only crazy stories like that came out in Florida! All that rain must be making the them cranky.

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