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Pine Ridge High senior barred from speaking at graduation after social media post

Community starts petition to get punishment revoked

DELTONA, Fla. – Thousands of people have signed a petition in support of an esteemed Pine Ridge High School senior who, as punishment for a social media post, will no longer be allowed to speak at graduation. 

The petition touts the student's accomplishments. 

In her four years at the school, it says, she, "has maintained a 4.3 GPA while taking 6 AP classes and 4 Daytona State courses. She has never been in trouble or received a referral once in all her 13 years of schooling."

She was set to give a speech at graduation, but according to the petition, that has been taken away after a recent online posting. 

The petition said, "it was so shocking that on April 10, 2019 ,while in class, she used her phone with the supervising teacher’s permission to record another student making an inappropriate sign, which she posted on her SPAM social media account."

It went on to say as a disciplinary action, she is no longer allowed to give a speech at graduation or wear her stoles and has been stripped of her officer positions in student clubs. 

Some parents at Pine Ridge High School said the reported punishment is too harsh. 

"That is just not fair to the student, and if there is a petition, me and my children, I have eight children, we will sign it," Deana Stewart said. 

Dennis Chipps' son is a junior at the school and said he wouldn't be too happy if this were to happen to his son. 

"It was way too harsh, yes. I think for the kid that actually did this, the sign or whatever, maybe punish him, not punish her," Chipps said. 

A representative with Volusia County schools said the discipline was at the discretion of the principal, not the school board.

As for the student who made the sign, the school representative said officials cannot comment on anything related to specific students.

A school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday. Discussion about the petition is not on the agenda, but a board member can bring it up for discussion. 

Graduation is set for June 1.