A message from administration on withheld diplomas

Dear Liberty

We are aware of several social media posts by students and others stating that some students did not receive their diplomas because they wore heritage sashes as they crossed the stage. Yes, they did not receive their diplomas directly after the ceremony, but they will after meetings with administration.

During the ceremony, diploma covers are handed out and the diplomas are collected by students after the ceremony. The students referenced did not immediately receive their diplomas because they did not follow the rules of participation set by the Board of Education and the administration.

Board policy states that “The Board of Education will establish the date for graduation ceremonies, while the administration will determine the place and program details, including attire.” and “The Building Principal may set other rules and conditions for participation in the graduation ceremony and related activities. All such rules will be provided to students and parents/guardians in advance.”

The students and parents/guardians were told in a letter from Liberty High School Principal on May 22, and again on June 14  that “Students may only decorate the top of their cap. No other changes, decorations, or additions are allowed other than what is school issued (e.g. National Honor Society sashes).”

The students were also told before the event that they may not wear the sashes during the ceremony, but may keep them with them for pictures afterward.

A majority of the students followed these instructions, but others wore unapproved sashes, including heritage sashes as well as a superhero sash across the stage.

We celebrate the diversity that can be found among our Liberty Redhawks and were glad to see all of the wonderfully decorated caps highlighting students’ heritage, families and personalities. We appreciate the journey all of our students and their families have taken to reach this accomplishment, and don’t want to take away from that. However, the regulations on attire are set to focus on the academic and civic accomplishments, along with adhering to the decorum of a formal ceremony. The diplomas were withheld because these students did not follow the directions.

Students will receive their diplomas during meetings with the administration where they can have informative and restorative conversations about graduation rules and conditions.

We are proud of all that our students have accomplished and wish them all the best in the future.

Dr. Patrick Sullivan, Superintendent
Derek Adams, Liberty High School Principal