The Beaufort County School District is looking for a more efficient and guest-friendly schedule for its graduation ceremonies starting next spring.
School board members are considering condensing the five high school graduations, which typically take place over the course of a week, to two days. That would mean all five high schools would hold graduation ceremonies on a Friday or Saturday with a three-hour break between each.
The hope is that friends and relatives who must travel from out of town would have an easier time getting off work for a graduation held on a Friday or Saturday vs. during the work week. Additionally, guests attending multiple graduations would benefit from them being held over just one or two days vs. spread across an entire week.
"Graduation is a big occasion and having them on different nights all throughout the week does make it difficult for family, especially from out of town, to come in for the ceremony," said Geri Kinton, the school board member who first suggested the board consider the change. She said she has heard from students upset that their loved ones were unable to attend their graduations.
It's good that the school board is listening to students and looking for a way to improve the schedule. But we have a hunch that there is no solution that will please everyone. Consider:
The situation seems to be one of those graduation headaches that school districts must deal with now and again. This past spring, the Beaufort County School District and other S.C. districts grappled with whether to include students who had not passed the state's exit exam in graduation ceremonies after the state legislature deleted the test requirement. Beaufort County ultimately included the students.
And then there's the long-standing problem of overly loud, obnoxious guests who scream and whistle during ceremonies. A man was arrested in June after he was accused of disturbing a high school graduation ceremony in Rock Hill as his brother walked across the graduation stage.
And disagreements over the appropriate dress code for graduates has periodically popped up in school districts around the country.
We don't expect the local school board to come up with a solution that pleases all in this graduation quagmire. They are right to seek feedback from high school students and parents about the proposed changes. Their input should be the sole guide on whether a scheduling change is needed.