Next Time, I’m Bringing an Air Horn.

I love graduation ceremonies. Most people think they’re totally boring, and they do drag on, but I love them. Something about a community all celebrating a sort of mutual achievement makes me happy. My family all lives pretty close, so I’ve been to cousins’ high school and college graduations, along with friends’ and in-laws’. Plus, I spent two spring semesters working at a high school – once as a student teacher and once as a long-term substitute, so I elected to go to those ones as well. I’m not a very vocal person, but I also clap and give a small “whoo” to the family/friend/student who is moving on.

Last month, while I clapped for my students, one student got probably the best, proudest cheer from the crowd. One of my students from when I student taught U.S. History was a refugee who had spent years in transit before resettling in Arizona. His family gave their first American high school graduate a solid minute of screaming and instrument-banging that rang out across the field. It was freaking awesome. The teachers reading names paused and let the family cheer before moving on, and there were plenty of other loud and lengthy celebrations as students walked across the stage. This was just one of the moments that made me smile.

Which makes things like this all the more infuriatingly messed up:

A South Carolina mom was arrested on Saturday for cheering at her daughter’s high school graduation.

Shannon Cooper got up and yelled “yay, my baby made it” when she saw her daughter walk across the stage Saturday night, but just moments later, she was handcuffed, escorted out through the auditorium in front of her daughter and jailed for several hours.

“Are ya’ll serious? Are ya’ll for real? I mean, that’s what I’m thinking in my mind. I didn’t say anything. I was just like OK, I can’t fight the law,” Cooper told WPDE. “I can’t argue with the police, but I’m like are you serious? I didn’t do any more than the others did. Which I feel like no one should have went to jail.”

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