KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Locked out of graduation. Some families in the Kansas City, Kansas School District missed a big moment in their seniors’ lives.
The principal at Wyandotte High School is blaming the problem on fake tickets.
Several families who had seniors graduating from Wyandotte High School said they had a real ticket to get inside but were still turned away at the door because the venue hit capacity .
The doors locked and no more people allowed in.
“You destroyed my sister’s graduation,” someone in the crowd shouted.
Emotions ran high outside the commencement ceremony for Wyandotte High seniors. This year, graduation held at Kansas City, Kansas Community College.
“I was crying, bawling my eyes out, my mom was too,” Crisman Chavez, sister of a graduate said. “Everybody was just very upset.”
Chavez estimates 200 people were left outside.
She and her parents said they had the right tickets but were stopped at the door. She was told the fire marshal said they reached capacity.
Her family, forced to watch her brother walk the stage on a phone.
The Kansas City, Kansas Public School District said in a statement, “While the district had a plan in place for each of our graduates to bring a set number of guests with them, we did not prepare for some to use fake tickets for entry. This is only an explanation and not an excuse. This will not happen again because we will have a better contingency plan in place for all future graduation ceremonies.”
The principal of the high school also sent a letter apologizing to families that missed the ceremony and said they’re taking this matter seriously.
“There’s families, there’s people out from Texas, California, coming to see their loved ones and they weren’t able to go in because of a mix-up that it was their fault,” Chavez said. “If they had the tickets counted correctly then they should have trained the people that were letting people in correctly. How to know what was a ticket because it’s not the first year that people falsed tickets, it’s every year.”
Each Wyandotte High student got six tickets — 324 graduated.
The district said KCKCC could hold 2,220 people, not including the floor.
“It was a disservice to our students and our families who have sacrificed so much,” Wyandotte High teacher Samantha Wolowicz said during a KCKPS Board of Education meeting on Tuesday.
“These young adults who survived a pandemic deserved to have their loved ones with them and that didn’t happen.”
Gary Wilson was there as a mentor to several students since they were 14.
“They gave me the tickets because they wanted me to be there to see them walk across the stage and see them graduate,” Wilson said.
He taught them how to drive and they worked with him at Wilson’s Pizza and Grill.
“It’s just a lot of frustration. because they had brought their kids up from kindergarten all the way to senior high then I can’t see you walk the stage – that’s a big moment.”
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Some students left when their loved ones couldn’t get inside.
Teachers said they were prepared to give up their seats for parents to get in, but claim security told them no.