Diplomas and disappointment: A day after Belaire’s commencement chaos, graduates and their families are still scratching their heads over the call to lock the doors during the ceremony at Baton Rouge Community College.
“it wasn’t unruly, did people get upset, did people get frustrated, yes. Some people started to knock on the door and some people kicked the door, but it was after they were locked out. So why did they locked the door and didn’t allow anyone to come in, I don’t know.” said Felicia Williams, aunt of a 2019 Belaire graduate.
Friday night, graduates left the gym at BRCC after learning their parents weren’t there to see them walk across the stage.
“I was crying because I wanted my mama to see me graduate. I know my grandmother was inside, but my mama was prouder of me than anybody. I feel like if she couldn’t see me graduate then what was the point I didn’t want to graduate anymore.” said Skylar Williams, 2019 graduate of Belaire High School.
In a statement, the East Baton Rouge Parish School system apologized and said:
“in order to ensure safety, the facility management staff at BRCC temporarily delayed families from entering the building.”
But those who attended the event say, the doors never reopened, even with more than enough seating inside.
“My mom was in already and she sent a picture and said I’m not sure why they aren’t letting anyone in because right across from her, an entire area was open and when we finally got in, we saw where they had extra seats on the floor they had extra seats on both sides and behind the graduates.” said Williams.
Though the ceremony is in the past, families say they’re still waiting on a better explanation.
“I don’t care for the whole ticket thing but if that’s the case, that’s fine but at least make sure that everyone with a ticket gets in. And they were saying people were trying to get in without tickets, but someone raised the question while we were out there saying how many of you have tickets and almost every hand went up showing I have a ticket.” said Williams.