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ERIC Number: ED524144
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 18
Graduation: Navigating a Legal Minefield. A Legal Memorandum: Quarterly Law Topics for School Leaders. Vol. 7, No. 3, Spring 2007
Kirby, Elizabeth; Swem, Lisa
National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)
High school graduation is an important milestone for students and their families, and plans for family gatherings and celebrations are often made early in the senior year. Despite the anticipation, some seniors will not graduate because of insufficient credits, disciplinary action, or failure to pass a state exam. Breaking the news to students and parents can be heart-wrenching. They may react with anger, grief, frustration, and denial. Principals may face intense pressure to make "exceptions" for particular students. Given the emotional and social significance of graduation, it's not surprising that there is considerable litigation over graduation issues. The high stakes make it imperative that principals adhere to common sense, school rules, and the legal precedents established by the courts. Deciding whether to allow a student to "walk" in the graduation ceremony without being awarded an official diploma can be extremely difficult for a principal. These situations often involve students who failed an examination in a required course at the last minute. Policies vary by school district, but the recommended practice is to implement clear school standards about the issue and inform students "and their parents" of the school's standards well in advance, even as early as the beginning of senior year. The process leading to graduation can be filled with potential pitfalls. It's important for principals to understand the legal parameters related to graduation. This "Legal Memorandum" highlights the areas challenged in the courts and identified as significant sources of conflict. (Lists 1 resource.)
National Association of Secondary School Principals. 1904 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1537. Tel: 800-253-7746; Tel: 703-860-0200; Fax: 703-620-6534; Web site:
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serial; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: Administrators
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Association of Secondary School Principals