Celebrate responsibly

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Myrtle Beach woman is in the news for being arrested at her daughter's high school graduation ceremony.

She didn't show up drunk and spew a profanity-laced rant at administrators.

She didn't get into a violent scrum with another parent over whose graduate was better.

She didn't even obnoxiously budge in front of other parents to take photos.

Nope, she just cheered a little too enthusiastically.

"I got up and I said: 'Yay, my baby made it!" Shannon Cooper told a local news channel.

Yes, parents were warned they would be asked to leave the auditorium if they applauded for individual students, but Cooper decided, "I'm going to cheer because ... I've gone through too much to get her to this point."

Her actions resulted in a disorderly conduct charge and several hours in jail before she was able to post a $225 bond and return home.

Maybe it wouldn't be too surprising if the above event had taken place in an uppity suburb, like Chatswin from the show "Suburgatory," but not a laid-back vacation hot spot like Myrtle Beach.

In addition to its party atmosphere, Myrtle Beach has also been known as the "worst medium city for crime." One would think law enforcement would want to reserve jail cells for those charged with assault, burglary and larceny, considering the city is known for high rates of all those crimes.

With all that considered, holding someone on such a petty charge doesn't seem to make sense. However, there may be more to the story that was not reported, so maybe the Myrtle Beach school officials should get a break.

At least they punished the person doing the cheering instead of the graduates receiving the praise, as was the case in a suburban Cincinnati school. (Ah ha! Maybe the above comment was on point after all.)

At this school, four graduates were denied their diplomas until completing at least 20 hours of community service after their families erupted in "overly boisterous cheering."

They are still considered legal graduates and can use their transcripts as they apply for college or jobs without having their diplomas.

This policy was put in place following past disruptions and when parents ordered graduation tickets, they were informed of the policy.

The four students were not identified by the school, and the other three are not resisting, but one of the families identified themselves in protest.

"It took away so much from how happy I was," Traci Cornist told a local radio station. "It makes absolutely no sense."

She went on to say, "I want him to have it, and he shouldn't have to do anything. He's a good kid. ... We'll see. I'm praying on it."

The truth is, Cornist's son does not have to do anything. She, and the other rowdy family members, can perform community service on her son's behalf.

While the punishment does seem like a bit much, the family knew it would be the consequence for their actions and they should be the ones stepping up to the plate.

The main takeaway?

Whether it's a graduation, wedding, Bar Mitzvah or any other joyous occasion, always remember these two words of advice.

Celebrate responsibly.