Wednesday, June 10, 2015
SENATOBIA, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi school superintendent who pressed charges against people for cheering at a high school graduation has now dropped the charges.
According to multiple media reports, Senatobia Superintendent Jay Foster says the school district withdrew the complaints Monday.
"I've had a lot of negative phone calls and emails, but I've also had a lot of support," Foster said of the national attention brought to his actions.
Last week, Foster said that over the past few years, the yelling and screaming at graduation has become too disruptive, and made the ceremony unbearable. Foster swore out warrants for disturbing the peace against four people accused of being boisterous at the May 21 ceremony.
"I think it's important to remember that this is a celebration of our community, and the majority of our community wants a ceremony where people are respectful of others and there's some dignity there," Foster said.
Ursula Miller, one of the parents charged for cheering, said in media reports that Foster made more of a disturbance when he got on the public address system to tell people not to cheer.
"When (he) got on the PA system, he made more of a disturbance than I did," said Miller, who was escorted out of the graduation. "Every name was called. Each and every parent heard their child's name called. It wasn't no big disturbance. He's the one that caused the disturbance."
Henry Walker became one of four people arrested when he called out to his little sister, who was graduating.
His mother, Linda Walker, said she was still angry at Foster and was talking to a lawyer.
She said the dropped charge "saves me some time, but it's going to cost them some money. I'm not done with him. He done got my baby's name all over the world," she said. "We're not done."
Foster said he hoped the warrants will serve as a deterrent at future ceremonies.
"We felt like at this point that we had accomplished our goal," Foster said, "which was, if you disrupt the ceremony, not only could you be escorted out, but you could face possible charges. It's really nothing more than a ticket, but it could cost you."
The charges carry a fine of up to $500 and jail time of up to six months.
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