EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWST-SHIRT CONTROVERSY
from Eyewitness News Online
Students Allowed To Graduate Despite T-Shirt Controversy
Reported by: Kallie Cart
Videographer: Troy Morgan
Web Producer: Kallie Cart
Reported: May. 21, 2012 7:39 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
More than 20 students were nearly barred from participating in Capital High School's graduation ceremony Monday night, because of a controversial t-shirt. But there was a last minute pardon from the county superintendent.
The school's principal was among those who got in trouble. Noah Moody helped design the shirt and sold it to his classmates. It said "CAP" seniors on the front and on the back, a list of 10 reasons they were excited to be graduating, including a line the students say was about Principal Clinton Gile's hair style saying, "no more blinding baldness." But Giles says that wasn't the issue. He says the problem was that he didn't approve the shirt because it degraded the school by abbreviating Capitol to CAP, the shirt wasn't the school colors and it didn't have the school's official mascot.
"When you say it degrades the school, that's awfully severe," School Board President Pete Thaw said. "I don't think it degrades anybody."
Despite Giles' disapproval, last Friday many seniors wore the shirts anyway. Principal Giles asked the students five times to take them off and when some refused, he barred 21 seniors from walking at graduation for insubordination.
"When he told us to take it off it turned into a protest," Moody said.
Just hours before the graduation Kanawha County Superintendent Ron Duerring stepped in, reversing the principal's decision and allowing most of the seniors to take part in the graduation exercises.
"It's that time of the year, seniors are getting rowdy and they're feeling a little vibrato because they're graduating and not coming back, so there's all kinds of crazy things that can happen within the school system this time of the year and we understand that, they're still teenagers," Duerring said.
Moody wasn't allowed to give his speech at the graduation ceremony and one student was barred from graduation for something done beyond just wearing the t-shirt. We tried to speak with Principal Giles but he referred us to the Superintendent.
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