Upset with graduation changes, students protest at KCK high school

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Washington High School students protesting changes to their senior graduation activities got a surprise after the administration changed their minds about cancelling some senior traditions.

“I really appreciate it. I feel like I’ve done something,” said Ebony Germany after learning the administration was willing to compromise with the students.

Germany wrote a letter on Friday to Washington High School students and administrators outlining what seniors were upset about. The list include cancellation of the talent show, the bouncy house at the senior picnic and most of all, a condensed graduation.

“The biggest part is about the graduation. How they cut out the teacher appreciation walk like, that means a lot to us just to shorten down the time. Why do we need to shorten down the time when it’s about us?” Ebony said.

Students say they gathered in the hallway Friday, outside of the school office about 10:00 a.m. They say it was a peaceful protest until the administration reacted.

“They called in a bunch of police officers, they started pulling out mace, they started saying that we had to get out,” said Rigoberto Alvidrez, who was in the office paying his senior dues.

Each senior must pay $50 for prom and graduation activities. Seniors wanted to know if some activities are cancelled, why they still have to pay.

“We just want to be heard. We don’t want to sound like we are causing problems and now that’s the way that it looks and it’s not at all,” says senior Angel Craig.

Kansas City, Kansas School District Spokesperson David Smith tells Fox 4 News, when the halls cleared, administrators sat down with representatives from the senior class and reached a compromise. Graduation will now include the Teacher Appreciation Walk and a bouncy house will be rented for the senior picnic if one can be found.

Click here to read Germany's letter

A portion is here:

The largest concern lies with our graduation ceremony. First off a dress code has been brought to our attention, of a strict business formal wear. (Stated as: Dark slacks and white shirts for males, skirt or dress with no open toe shoes for females & no excessive height of a heel.) We come from a poverty-stricken community that not all students are able to/and or obtain formal wear. In addition to this, our annual teacher appreciation walk has been taken from us to shorten the duration of our graduation ceremony. We were informed 12 days before graduation.

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