Justin Denney, the graduate who was denied his diploma for alleged misbehavior, will receive his diploma according to news reports from WMTW-TV in Maine. The School Administrative District 6 Board of Directors held an emergency meeting to discuss Superintendent Suzanne Lukas’ performance at the Bonny Eagle High School graduation last weekend. “Denney said Lukas accused him of fooling around after he blew a kiss and bowed to his parents before approaching her.” Here is a video report of Justin Denney describing what happened to him.
Since then high school principal Beth Schultz said she has called Denney’s home several times in an effort to give him his diploma. Thursday night, Lukas attended the emergency meeting but had no comment following a private two-hour executive session. No action has been taken yet, and would require that board members return to open session. While Chairman David Hopkins could not comment on what was discussed behind closed doors, he did say that a board member had made a motion to discuss Lukas’ performance at graduation. A special meeting is scheduled for the SAD 6 on Monday at 6 p.m. at Bonny Eagle Middle School and will discuss graduation related issues. The agenda includes a workshop reviewing high school graduation expectations.
Since this meeting Justin Denney and his father have sought legal counsel with Dan Lilley who is an attorney in the Portland area.
The effects that this may have on Justin Denney are real. Having worked with teens in public high schools as a therapist, I have encountered similar situations where a teen was denied their diploma upon graduation. It can be damaging to their self-esteem in ways we cannot determine. Unfortunately in that case the teen ended up giving up and dropping out and having a child. In this case Justin will most likely receive his diploma and hopefully go on to complete his nursing degree. What could have been a glorious moment for everyone turned out to be just another flaw in the educational system. How far might a simple heartfelt apology go right now? Instead it will be one more legal battle with tons of taxpayer’s money being wasted.