It's likely no one was upset when the Carrollton, Ohio, school district said students who miss more than a certain number of days wouldn't walk in the graduation ceremony. But such rules should come with flexibility for extremely unusual circumstances.A student missing school to care for his dying mother would strike most people as an extremely usual circumstance.“Most people” apparently doesn't include officials in the Carrollton school system, in Eastern Ohio between Canton and Steubenville. The district is letting Austin Fisher walk with fellow graduates next month only after immense national public pressure. The website change.org reported that more than 90,000 people signed an online petition asking the district to reverse its decision not to let Fisher walk at graduation.Fisher, a student athlete with good grades despite his absences, cared for his mother during her treatments for terminal breast cancer, according to change.org. But, in doing so, Fisher missed two more days than school policy permits. He was told he would not be walking with his graduating class as a result.Carrollton High School alumna Tammy White used change.org to launch a petition drive to get the high school to allow Fisher to walk. The response was overwhelming, drawing 90,000 signatures and intense public pressure. The result is what it should be: Superintendent Palmer Fogler told the family Monday that Fisher would be allowed to walk with his fellow graduating classmates, the website reports.But a policy such as the one in Carrollton could be in place at any school anywhere in this zero-tolerance world. Too often, we see such policies result in the dumbest of punishments. Think of a butter knife used to cut an apple drawing the police and earning a suspension, as happened in 2008 in Lima, if you need to be reminded such things happen here. Or, in Carrollton, where a student who missed two too many days was being denied a full graduation because he did what anyone would do: He cared for his dying mother.Everyone understands the need for such policies. Mostly everyone also seems to understands the need to waive them when the circumstances warrant doing so. School officials, unfortunately, are often the last ones to heed that bit of common sense.
Tara Cutlip, 21 and pregnant with her second child, was shot and killed Saturday in her Bahama Drive home. Loved ones gather in front of Tara's home to remember her and speak out against domestic violence.