Guests Denied Entry to Nash High School Graduation Ceremony
Posted May 27, 2005 6:50 a.m. EDT
NASH COUNTY, N.C. — Some Nash County parents and guests said they were shut out from loved ones' graduation ceremonies Thursday night.
For those family and friends, home video of Nash Central High School's first ever graduation is the only way they will ever be able to remember the rite of passage.
When Katrina Sweet arrived to watch her niece Alysia Bridgers walk across the stage, officers told her the gym was full.
"We were greeted by two police officers who told us we could not enter," Sweet said. "There were about 30 to 35 parents on the outside that could not see their children graduate. There was crying and some were using profanity."
Nash Central Principal LeRoy Hartsfield admits he ordered the doors closed. He said he sent out messages telling families to show up on time.
"I do apologize to the people that didn't get in," Hartsfield said. "They expect me to do what I say I'm going to do. If I say we start at 7, then we start at 7."
There is a key discrepancy over time in this argument. Sweet contends she and other relatives arrived at 6:30 p.m., but Hartsfield argues no one was denied access until 6:55 p.m.
"It is too disruptive and it's not fair to the candidates that were there for graduation."
When asked if he thought he was too harsh in regard to letting in parents, Hartsfield said, "I don't think I was being too harsh."
Hartsfield says he made only one exception to his 6:55 p.m. rule. He allowed in a parent who had just returned from military deployment in Iraq.