LAWSON, Mo. — Taylor Smith has her cap and gown and is perhaps more ready for graduation than anyone in the Class of 2022 in Lawson, Missouri.

She’s already finished her schooling but because she graduated at semester the Lawson R-XIV School District won’t allow her to take part in the commencement ceremony next month.

“They deserve to walk across the stage just as much as their classmates. They deserve to relish in the moment that they have accomplished,” told the Lawson R-XIV School Board at Monday’s night meeting.

Smith also told the School Board she realizes her daughter Taylor signed a form agreeing to give up the right to take part in graduation.

“Her mental health was not in a good place. Choosing to graduate early was an escape and she felt she had no other option. She was not disruptive to other students and had a clean disciplinary record,” Smith said.

The district declined comment Monday calling it a student issue. But in response to an online petition earlier this month Interim Superintendent Dr. Bill Nicely defended the policy, saying early graduates would have less incentive not to be disruptive.

“People in our community, they want their parents students and family to have a memorable experience that they can remember for the rest of their lives. When we don’t have that relationship with those students because they’ve graduated and gone on we can’t guarantee that,” Nicely said.

“We will review this at a later time, we thank you for your input and it gives us a lot of info to make a decision on,” Board President David Allgaier told the Smith family during Monday’s meeting.

The School Board is not set to meet again until May 18, three days after the May 15 graduation.

“It may not get changed for her but I’m hoping that they understand that this needs to get changed for other students,” Smith said.

There was a closed session portion of Monday’s meeting. FOX4 is working to find out if this matter was discussed and provide any updates.

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