Clarksville HS students banned from graduation hold make-shift ceremony

Updated: May. 29, 2021 at 12:32 AM EDT
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CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (WAVE) - Seven students weren’t able to walk across the stage at Clarksville High School on Friday night after a water gun and water balloon fight as part of a prank in the school on Wednesday.

Their families fought tooth and nail until the end, but the students didn’t get to cross the ceremonial finish line at their graduations.

“He grabbed me and bear-hugged me on my way out the door and said, ‘That’s what is going to last with me forever. Not if I walk across the stage, but what you and dad have done for me,’” Stacie Stewart said of her son Sam, one of the boys punished for the prank.

Stewart said Friday morning, her son was still holding out hope he and his friends would be able to participate in their graduation ceremony after days of back and forth with school administrators.

The parents of the seven boys said their sons were told by a counselor they could have a water balloon and water gun fight during their senior day activities. However, a Clark County School District spokesperson told WAVE 3 News they were not aware of that conversation.

Friday, the seven teenage boys surrounded themselves by family and friends to have their own make-shift outdoor graduation ceremony. Sam Stewart was the pseudo-valedictorian.

“We’re just some senior kids,” he said. “We’re some kids, still. We’re going on to the real chapter — life. To see the kindness, my parents, see my friends, see everyone around here, man, I love everyone here. I appreciate it.”

Clarksville Community Schools released a statement Friday on the incident and their decision to remove the students from participation in the commencement ceremony:

The safety and well-being of all our students remains our top priority. The incident that took place Wednesday morning at Clarksville High School jeopardized the safety of our students and staff and created a substantial disruption to the educational environment. We cannot disclose personal information regarding individual students involved. However, in order to dispel rumors and correct inaccurate information circulating, we can provide some relevant facts about the incident that took place. These are:

  • At no time did Clarksville High School administrators or staff give permission for students to partake in water activities inside the high school.
  • Neither high school administrators nor staff provided water-related supplies to students.
  • The water activities were scheduled for a senior picnic to be held outside at a later time than the incident occurred.
  • The seven individuals involved are still graduating, but will not participate in the commencement ceremony Friday evening.

Student-related decisions made by Clarksville administrators are not taken lightly and we will always strive to provide the safest and most secure educational environment for all of our students at all times.

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