Some students and parents expressed anger and sadness Friday after several graduates apparently were denied admittance to their own high school graduation ceremony.
Tanya Aguon sobbed in a live video on Facebook in which she said that her son was not permitted to walk across the stage at Bryan Station High School's graduation because he was wearing jeans and tennis shoes beneath his gown.
Other grads, she said, were not allowed in because they were late to the ceremony, which was scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. at Rupp Arena.
The video shows several youths in green caps and gowns apparently being turned away by security guards at the door. Uniformed police officers are also shown talking with students outside Rupp.
Bryan Station Principal James McMillin referred questions about the incident to a district spokeswoman late Friday night. The spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.
A flyer posted on Bryan Station's website says, "Graduation attire will be checked at the door! If you are out of dress code, you will not participate in the graduation ceremony." The admonishment is repeated at the top and bottom of the flyer, along with other instructions for graduates.
The flyer says denim and tennis shoes are not acceptable. Males are to wear a dress shirt and tie, dress slacks and dress shoes with their caps and gowns.
The flyer also states that graduates should arrive at Rupp Arena at 11:30 a.m. "NO EXCEPTIONS WILL BE MADE IF YOU ARRIVE PAST 12:15 PM," it says.
"We are the most diverse school in the city, and it took everything for our kids to get here," Aguon said in the video she posted on social media. "Twelve years these kids have been waiting to walk across the stage, and they took it from them in less than five minutes."
"You can't get this moment back," she said.
One girl is shown in the video tossing her cap and gown onto the pavement, saying "I don't even want this anymore."
"This is the memory that our children are going to have of their graduation," Aguon said in the Facebook video, which had been viewed more than 12,000 times by Friday night. "I'd rather let the crowd wait than not let these kids walk."