Students create, sign petition against canceling graduation

Due to COVID-19, events such as graduation and prom have been postponed, leading to disappointment from students.

As a result, FUHSD announced a virtual graduation through a districtwide email; however, some students were still not content and expressed their disappointment through the creation of petitions, in an attempt to have their voices heard by school and district officials.

One such petition — started by Lynbrook senior Aditi Rao — has now received over 600 signatures. It calls for the postponement of district wide graduation ceremonies, rather than holding them virtually.

Photo by Anika Karody
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, FUHSD has resorted to celebrating the seniors through a virtual graduation.

However, Principal Greg Giglio said in an email the district will continue with their plans for a virtual graduation, despite the petition.

“We have discussed some alternative ideas to celebrate the seniors at a later date, but there will never be another time when we will have the entire class together to give them a final celebration if we don’t do a virtual graduation,” Giglio said.

Giglio also said that although postponing graduation would not have been a bad idea, the pandemic poses uncertainty as to when restrictions will be lifted. Giglio said it would be difficult to gather all of the seniors together for a ceremony following the aftermath of COVID-19.

Senior Elizabeth Chien said in an email that the cancellation of a physical graduation is not a problem, as this action is beneficial to compromised staff and students.

“The district isn’t trying to take away our high school experiences,” Chien said, “they’re trying to protect our community from an even more aggressive outbreak.”

Chien also said the cancellations were made in good faith, but she does not see the petitions as harmful.

“In my opinion, petitioning is a good way to unite students and parents for a common cause,” Chien said, “and it’s honestly one of the best ways to get an idea across by showing the sheer amount of support.”

She said a problem arises when students make assumptions and sign the petition without understanding all of the ramifications.

“Without reading the official petition, you may be signing something you don’t completely agree with,” Chien said. 

Giglio also said he finds the petitioning reasonable, despite being unable to act upon it.

“I totally understand why people are putting up petitions, because they have already had so much taken from them that they are trying to get some sort of control or have a say in what happens,” Giglio said. “The biggest question that we were facing was what could we guarantee to hold and not have to worry about restrictions, such as social distancing or large gatherings.”

As for the postponement of graduation, Giglio said he does not want to raise anyone’s hopes and hurt sentiments more than they already are.

“Postponing is truly an option, but if restrictions don’t get lifted, then we have just delayed the pain and missed an opportunity to do something when everyone is still around,” Giglio said.

Junior Lotus Taylor said in an email she finds the petitions rather disrespectful. Taylor said she believes people must be more considerate of the situation, and understand that sacrificing high school traditions is more important than risking lives during COVID-19.

“We can give up our grades for half a semester. We can give up our prom. We can give up our graduation. We can do this, so that more people don’t get sick,” Taylor said. “People are making major sacrifices greater than ours. We just need to support these organizations, do our best while doing school from home and go from there.”