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High school graduate denied diploma on stage by principal after dancing during ceremony gets apology

Gregory Robinson

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| Last updated 

High school graduate denied diploma on stage by principal after dancing during ceremony gets apology

Featured Image Credit: 6abc Philadelphia

The high school graduate who was denied getting her diploma on stage by the school's principal has received an apology.

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Hafsah Abdur-Rahman, 17, previously said that the moment she was refused her certificate on stage was ‘unfair’ and admitted she ‘couldn’t enjoy the rest of the graduation’ because of it.

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She has since received an apology after the situation unfolded at Philadelphia High School for Girls on 9 June.

The School District of Philadelphia said in a statement: "The District does not condone the withholding of earned diplomas based on family members cheering for their graduates.

"We apologize to all the families and graduates who were impacted and are further looking into this matter to avoid it happening in the future."

Abdur-Rahman said the assistant superintendent of the school reached out to both herself and her mother, Jaszmine Reid, apologizing for the ordeal and to discuss the matter further.

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Principal Lisa Mesi refused to hand over the certificate to the 17-year-old student at the graduation ceremony for Philadelphia High School for Girls students.

Abdur-Rahman says her principal 'stole' the moment from her. Credit: 6abc Philadelphia
Abdur-Rahman says her principal 'stole' the moment from her. Credit: 6abc Philadelphia

Abdur-Rahman was filmed dancing as she made her way to the stage as she was clearly excited to receive the accolade.

However, the principal decided against giving her the high school diploma on stage, allegedly due to the crowd’s reaction to her dancing.

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The principal had reportedly warned students of the protocols they had to follow at the ceremony, namely that their families could not cheer or clap when they walked on stage,

"I understood the rules because I was saying 'shh' in the video. Do not say nothing because I want my diploma," Abdur-Rahman told 6abc Philadelphia.

"I knew and understood what we were supposed to do."

The student says she was refused her diploma on stage because she danced her way over to the podium. Credit: 6abc Philadelphia
The student says she was refused her diploma on stage because she danced her way over to the podium. Credit: 6abc Philadelphia
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According to the student, the principal told her she could not receive her diploma because the crowd broke out in cheers and laughter as she got on the stage.

"If they thought that I shouldn't do 'The Griddy' [dance move] across the stage and do the Girls' High traditions, nobody should have been able to wave or blow kisses or do period signs because I feel like that's the same thing," she said.

"I feel like that's unfair."

Abdur-Rahman continued: "She [the principal] stole that moment from me. I will never get that again."

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Her mother added: "I understand traditions and rules are set in place for a reason, and we're not saying they should be broken, but it might need to be revised also."

UNILAD has contacted the Philadelphia High School for Girls for further comment.

Topics: News, US News, Education

Gregory Robinson
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