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Brainerd School Board: Graduation commencement a privilege not a right

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As the Brainerd High School (BHS) class of 2012 looks toward its graduation commencement ceremony on May 31, the Brainerd School Board Long Range Planning Committee approved changes that will affect the class of 2013’s commencement.

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During Monday afternoon’s committee meeting, Deb Lechner, director of teaching and learning, presented committee members with proposed changes to the 2012-13 District Student Handbook, including a change in the BHS handbook that details what students will be able to take part in graduation commencement.

“Student participation in the graduation ceremony is a privilege, not a right,” said Lechner, quoting exact language from the student handbook. “The changes we made to that is that (graduating) students must have the number of credits needed by the last day of school or they will not participate in the commencement ceremony with their class.

Students that need to go to summer school would not be prepared for graduation or commencement and therefore, again this is for next year (2012-13) not this year (2011-12), would not be allowed to attend the graduation ceremony.”

According to the proposed changes in the handbook, Lechner said the following verbage would be added:

• Students will not be allowed to participate in commencement if they quit attending any scheduled classes or will not have completed the required credits to graduate by the last day of school.

“I think it’s important to share a little of the dialogue surrounding why we have these changes,” said Superintendent Steve Razidlo. “We have students and families who feel passionately and that it’s important to graduate with their class and walk that line, and that has been true for centuries I imagine.

“But the pressure that sometimes is felt by a family to get enrolled in summer courses has steamrolled in some cases where it’s almost questionable if they can really get it done in the summer.

“We have looked at how we are treating this issue and we feel we’ve gotten a little out of alignment and I think it’s a better incentive to get their work done on time and have the ability to finish courses by graduation so they can walk with their class.”

Along with commencement changes, a few other minor edits were made, along with changes in technology verbage to better accommodate the amount of kids with personal devices at all age levels.

The changes were approved by long range committee members Tom Haglin and Ruth Nelson. Committee member Jim Hunt was absent from Monday’s meeting.

JESSI PIERCE, staff writer, may be reached at 855-5859 or jessi.pierce@brainerddispatch.com. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jessi_pierce (@jessi_pierce).

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Jessi Pierce
Born: 9/28/1987 (age 24) High School: Mahtomedi High School (home of the Zephyrs) in Mahtomedi, Minn. College: Journalism and Mass Communications degree from Iowa State University (Class 2010) Passions: Sharing the story. I love getting to know people, and in particular this town as it is so new to me, and being able to share something about them with the public. That and sports, especially hockey and lacrosse. Follow me on Twitter @jessi_pierce (views on Twitter do not represent that of the Brainerd Dispatch)
(218) 855-5859
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