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Principal Withholds Diplomas from Graduates After Silent Protest

Photo by David Rapkin
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Students at Liechty Middle School engaged in a silent protest during their graduation ceremony last week and it wound up costing them their diplomas. "The students turned their backs on graduation speaker Monica Garcia, LAUSD Board President, to express their displeasure to teacher layoffs and cutbacks," press materials explain. Principal Jeanette Stevens then decided to withhold the protesting students' diplomas. "The students had completed all their graduation requirements and were within their free speech protected rights."

This morning, many of the students' mothers arrived at Liechty to demand an apology from Stevens, and to ask that their children's diplomas be given to them. Insiders on the campus believe that Stevens' decision to hold the diplomas is a result of her anger at the many faculty and students who are participating in many events of civil disobedience aimed at drawing attention to the impact of teacher layoffs and budget cuts on the community. Such campaigns include the recently concluded Hunger Strike and camp-outs held at Leichty and other LAUSD campuses.