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KCKPS changes J.C. Harmon graduation ceremony back to evening

Posted at 11:21 PM, Mar 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-11 00:21:14-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — More than 1,300 people have signed an online petition urging Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools to change J.C. Harmon High School’s graduation ceremony back to the evening.

And at Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting, a motion passed reverting the ceremony the time to 7 p.m. from 10 a.m. on May 18. During open discussion, one board member brought up how some parents work two to three jobs just to survive and if they missed an invitation to one meeting one year ago to discuss the change, the district owed it to the families to change it back.

“We are literally the only school district surrounding us that is graduating in the morning,” said concerned parent Tscher (Cece) Manck prior to the vote.

Parents learned through social media that their children’s graduation ceremony would be held at 10 a.m. rather than the usual 7 p.m.

Last year, Manck watched one of her sons walk across the stage at a nightside ceremony, but this year she said she won’t be there if it’s at 10 a.m.

“It’s really anger more so than hurt,” she said, “because I feel like it’s arrogant for somebody who we pay to tell us that you’re not going to do something that we want done.”

Manck said she was never notified as a parent, either in writing or by phone, that this year will be different. She said she felt forced to either take the day off work – potentially without pay – or miss her child’s graduation.

Community member Carolyn Wyatt said that it is a choice between going to work or attending the graduation ceremony.

Manck said she should not have to miss out being able to feed her family because of the time change.

“He’s not my only son – I have other kids – I shouldn’t have to miss out missing money in order to see my son graduate,” Manck said. “I didn’t have to do it last year, I shouldn’t have to do it this year.”

KCKPS Superintendent Charles Foust declined 41 Action News’ request for an interview.