A procedure regarding locked doors during Union Middle School’s promotion ceremony left a group of parents upset about not seeing their children’s achievements.
According to reports, some parents arrived a little after the start time of 9 o’ clock Tuesday and did not know they would be denied access to the eighth-grade ceremony. Mother Jackie Johnson was one of those parents.
“It’s a milestone for people to see their child move on to high school,” Johnson said about her son. “It was very important for myself and his brothers and sisters to see him walk across the stage.”
Johnson said one of her son’s siblings traveled from out of town for it, but watched a chaotic situation unfold. After the event, she contacted the school for an explanation, but no one called back.
“I wanted to express to the school how much of a travesty that was,” Johnson said. “I never heard of that happening.”
By the time she got in, when the door opened from people leaving, it was over. She said about 20 people were left out.
Susan Warren, public relations and student services coordinator for Sampson County Schools, said the locked door policy is used for high school graduations. The purpose is to stop distractions and to have a respectful and dignified ceremony.
“This was done last year,” Warren said about the recent situation at Union Middle School. “Our high schools have done this for years.”
Warren stressed that letters and information were sent home to parents about the 9 a.m. start time. Before such events, she advises parents, family members and visitors to know procedures and to arrive early.
“Be aware of the procedures and the expectations of the school,” Warren said.
Following the ceremony Johnson said she was unaware of the procedure about the start time and later discovered that information was distributed to students. She believes automated calls should have been used to notify parents.
School officials from Union Middle School did not comment on the situation after being contacted by The Sampson Independent.
“I think all of the parents should have an apology from the school,” Johnson said. “It should be handled better than that.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.