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Old 06-20-07, 12:20 AM   #1
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Diploma for deceased student? Thoughts?

Hi all. I would like to hear some opinions on a subject that has recently happened in my hometown.

A high school senior was fatally shot close to one month before graduation. At the time of his death, he was maintaining a "C" average. When the final grades were calculated and averaged, the student did not meet the requirements for graduation in two classes because of his death. The parents of the deceased student asked the school district to award a graduation diploma. The school board countered with an honorary diploma for which the parents refused.

Thoughts?
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Old 06-20-07, 12:25 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by midschool22
Hi all. I would like to hear some opinions on a subject that has recently happened in my hometown.

A high school senior was fatally shot close to one month before graduation. At the time of his death, he was maintaining a "C" average. When the final grades were calculated and averaged, the student did not meet the requirements for graduation in two classes because of his death. The parents of the deceased student asked the school district to award a graduation diploma. The school board countered with an honorary diploma for which the parents refused.

Thoughts?
That's sad--seriously, I can't imagine the devastation they must be feeling. But while I can't put myself in their shoes, I also can't imagine asking for a diploma, or turning down a well-meant gesture like an honorary diploma, which was more than the student would have received if he'd lived through the school year, it seems.

Then again, grief makes people do strange things.
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Old 06-20-07, 12:26 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by midschool22
Hi all. I would like to hear some opinions on a subject that has recently happened in my hometown.

A high school senior was fatally shot close to one month before graduation. At the time of his death, he was maintaining a "C" average. When the final grades were calculated and averaged, the student did not meet the requirements for graduation in two classes because of his death. The parents of the deceased student asked the school district to award a graduation diploma. The school board countered with an honorary diploma for which the parents refused.

Thoughts?


They wanted to set a good example.. If you want to graduate, make sure that you don't go get yourself killed while you have a below C avg. It's pretty simple.
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Old 06-20-07, 12:35 AM   #4
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I really see no harm in issuing a diploma. It will help with closure for the parents. The student spent 12 years in school and is now denied a diploma because he died a month before - seems pretty cold and heartless to me. It's not like he's going to use it to go to college.

In the graduating class after me there was a senior who died at the beginning of the year in a car accident and they had her parents come up to get her diploma during graduation. The whole crowd gave a standing ovation - they were so proud. The student was an honors student but without the last year was probably short a few credits. Was a very touching moment for the students who knew her, teachers who taught her, and all the other parents who was in some way connected. When a student dies in a school it effects everyone, the ripple is pretty fierce. I lost four classmates by the time I graduated and a few others not too long afterwards.
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Old 06-20-07, 12:45 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by red house
They wanted to set a good example.. If you want to graduate, make sure that you don't go get yourself killed while you have a below C avg. It's pretty simple.
I agree , sad case, but why is this important to the parents at this point? I don`t mean to be cold but Why does a diploma matter at this point?
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Old 06-20-07, 01:41 AM   #6
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It matters as a gesture, and that's what the honorary diploma was. The fact they refused that is the evidence to their grief overriding reason.

You'd think this would be the least of their concerns.
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Old 06-20-07, 02:23 AM   #7
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what's the harm?

seems like a big gesture at little cost to comfort a family in need.
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Old 06-20-07, 03:49 AM   #8
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Where do you draw the line? Do you issue diplomas to deceased 10th graders who have a D average? A diploma is something that must be earned by meeting certian requirements. Don't meet then, no diploma. Real simple.

To issue a diploma in this situation would devalue those diplomas held by the students who actually earned them. Those parents can go suck eggs!
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Old 06-20-07, 04:16 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by mirage1
Then again, grief makes people do strange things.
+1

- honorary degree was the correct gesture, IMHO...
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Old 06-20-07, 05:51 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by atomship47
what's the harm?

seems like a big gesture at little cost to comfort a family in need.
+1. It's amazing how the "small" things are so important. The child is gone forever. The parents are seeking things that mark the accomplishment of that short life. Something they can hold, since he is just...gone. I totally understand, and agree with you and Air. This is not a slap in the face of students who "earned" it. This is a gesture to the parents, and an acknowledgement of perhaps the only significant undertaking of this young person's life. The parents will never see him hold down a job, meet that right woman, have his own home, raise a family. At best, they'll walk into his room and see a piece of paper, but it will mean so much to them. I guess I just feel my loss still too acutely, but I say give 'em the diploma. He's never gonna use it. The parents will cherish it as a symbol of what could have been for that boy.
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Old 06-20-07, 05:56 AM   #11
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Yep, you can't just ahnd out graduation diplomas for any reason...that would rob others of the value of theirs, as well as open the door for all kinds of screwed up situations:

"Oh, she broke up with her boyfriend of 3 years and was too depressed to do her studies"

"Oh, he was in rehab....but he was passing fine until he got high...."

"These snozzberries taste like snozzberries...."

....I'm not trying to mock anything, but I do see the logic behind the school board's reasoning....The student was borderline to begin with. Honorary was the best way to do this.
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Old 06-20-07, 06:11 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by VegaVixen
+1. It's amazing how the "small" things are so important. The child is gone forever. The parents are seeking things that mark the accomplishment of that short life. Something they can hold, since he is just...gone. I totally understand, and agree with you and Air. This is not a slap in the face of students who "earned" it. This is a gesture to the parents, and an acknowledgement of perhaps the only significant undertaking of this young person's life. The parents will never see him hold down a job, meet that right woman, have his own home, raise a family. At best, they'll walk into his room and see a piece of paper, but it will mean so much to them. I guess I just feel my loss still too acutely, but I say give 'em the diploma. He's never gonna use it. The parents will cherish it as a symbol of what could have been for that boy.
Addressing the thoughts, not attacking the thinker.

Yes, the child is gone and through no fault of his own I presume. This is sad and I feel for their loss. But the boy didn't 'accomplish' the criteria to recieve a diploma. There's always the yearbook photo, his drivers license, Boy Scout regalia, football letter, etc. if they need something tangible.

He could have been a Congressional Medal of Honor or Nobel Prize winner to should his family be given those awards too?

Could have been...
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Old 06-20-07, 06:36 AM   #13
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At the time of his death, he was maintaining a "C" average. When the final grades were calculated and averaged, the student did not meet the requirements for graduation in two classes because of his death.
As an academic, I tend to hold things like degrees and diplomas and such in pretty high regard. In my business, these things are the currency with which people are allowed to practice a specific craft, whether it be nuclear physics or medicine or medieval history or entrance into most skilled trades. That said, it seems to me, from the OP's post, that if he were not killed, he could have been on track to graduate, and at the least an honorary diploma would have been appropriate, and depending on the two outstanding requirements, perhaps a full diploma. What were these requirements? Were they final exams or term papers? Then I think the instructors should look at his previous grades in those two courses throughout the semester or year and make a determination from that. Also, were these major courses, or electives? The former carry more weight in most schools, and should be considered accordingly.

On the other hand, I do think it's fair and reasonmable and appropriate to award a posthumous (full, not "honorary"- whatever that means) diploma if these two requirements were relatively trivial.

In short, it's a matter of degree (pun intended). How much did the missing requirements count, how close was he to actually graduating, and if he had lived, would he have completed those requirements in time for graduation? These are the questions that need to be answered before the BOE can make a decision. I hope they did that- I can't imagine they made this decision without considerable thought.
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Old 06-20-07, 06:48 AM   #14
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I say just give it to the parents. Be an honorable person by giving something to the parents that they will hold dear to their hearts. Its not going to matter in the long run. But for the parents it will mean tons.
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Old 06-20-07, 06:53 AM   #15
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I say just give it to the parents. Be an honorable person by giving something to the parents that they will hold dear to their hearts. Its not going to matter in the long run. But for the parents it will mean tons.

What she said, not like it's going to be used to get into college, job, etc - more for the parents to remember their child with - they went through school with him as well.
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Old 06-20-07, 06:55 AM   #16
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I tend to agree with the "Give the family a diploma" crowd. It means nothing in the long run to the world at large and everything to the parents.

As to devaluing the diploma to other students? How? The child is NEVER going to enter the working world or carry on with higher education, so awarding a full diploma isn't going to dilute the standards in any way, shape or form.

It will however, give the parents a form of a memorial that their child wasn't without some measure of accomplishment in the world.

What exactly is wrong with this?
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Old 06-20-07, 07:23 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by mirage1
That's sad--seriously, I can't imagine the devastation they must be feeling. But while I can't put myself in their shoes, I also can't imagine asking for a diploma, or turning down a well-meant gesture like an honorary diploma, which was more than the student would have received if he'd lived through the school year, it seems.

Then again, grief makes people do strange things.
+1

For those of you in the "give them a diploma crowd".....isn't this what they tried with the honorary diploma? What's the difference between this and a "real" diploma? Either way it can't be used.
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Old 06-20-07, 07:24 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Stacey
Where do you draw the line? Do you issue diplomas to deceased 10th graders who have a D average? A diploma is something that must be earned by meeting certian requirements. Don't meet then, no diploma. Real simple.

To issue a diploma in this situation would devalue those diplomas held by the students who actually earned them. Those parents can go suck eggs!
It's not worth much anyway. It's worth more to a college than it is in the actual world. In the work world, it's worth about the same as a GED.
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Old 06-20-07, 08:41 AM   #19
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It's not worth much anyway. It's worth more to a college than it is in the actual world. In the work world, it's worth about the same as a GED.
I wasn't talking it's intrinsic value in the job market, which at this point is zero. Hence a moot point. But rather the extrinsic value of the achievement to the one who has achieved it.
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Old 06-20-07, 08:44 AM   #20
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If my kid died...the last ****ing thing on my mind would be a diploma.
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Old 06-20-07, 08:45 AM   #21
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Right. Your first would be "We gots meat tonight!"
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Old 06-20-07, 08:46 AM   #22
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Right. Your first would be "We gots meat tonight!"
lol
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Old 06-20-07, 08:48 AM   #23
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seriously...what the hell is wrong with people...focusing on a trivial thing like proof of the education of my dead kid. these people need psychological help.
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Old 06-20-07, 08:50 AM   #24
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If my kid died...the last ****ing thing on my mind would be a diploma.
Do you really believe you would have any idea what you might think? Your mind often works weird in those situations. I would give them a little slack in that regard. I mean maybe the kid knew he was going to struggle to graduate and it was the biggest goal in his life.
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Old 06-20-07, 08:58 AM   #25
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If my kid died...the last ****ing thing on my mind would be a diploma.
You may very well react that way. But my personal experience says: Don't be surprised at what does and doesn't seem important when that actually happens.... You'd be amazed.
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