The parties in charge of Belaire’s commencement ceremony are all pointing fingers at each other.
Following Belaire High School’s 2019 Commencement commotion, Taylor Gast, East Baton Rouge School Board spokesperson released a statement.
The East Baton Rouge Parish School System and Belaire High School express sincere regret and apologies to our students and their loved ones. In order to ensure safety, the facility management staff at BRCC temporarily delayed families and EBR staff from entering the building. Students work extremely hard to achieve this milestone and in spite of the events that transpired tonight, we would like to celebrate their accomplishments as a family and a community.
Families who attended the event and were locked out said, they were not allowed to enter.
“Ain’t nobody waited all these years to see their child graduate and can’t get in to see it.” said a mother of a Belaire 2019 graduate.
Baton Rouge Community College spokesperson, Kizzy Payton, also released a statement following the incident, shifting the blame stating the Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office made the decision to lock the doors.
“Graduation is a special time for families and friends and we sincerely regret that the entry and exit of the building had to be restricted by the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office for crowd control issues. When having events of this size, we yield to the authority of the Sheriff’s Office and follow their directives to ensure the safety of all individuals present. To gain control of the unruly crowd, the Sheriff’s Department determined that it was best to restrict the flow of movement in and out of the building until they regained control.
Upon regaining control of the crowd, the EBR Sheriff’s Office allowed individuals to enter and exit the facility again.”
NBC Local 33 shared Baton Rouge community college’s statement with the sheriff’s office. In response, the Sheriff’s Office said:
Deputies were working the detail for Belaire High School. The decision to lock the doors once the commencement started was made by the Principal of Belaire as well as the woman over the facility at BRCC. The deputy working the detail said that she said she would determine when the doors would reopen. The deputy said the school wanted to limited movement inside the building once the commencement started. So those that were late had to wait outside for a short period. It was just an extra duty detail ebr deputies worked under the supervision of BRCC and the school.
Dozens of friends and family who were locked out, missing the chance to see their loved one’s graduate say, they want someone to be held responsible.