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

Rhiannon Ingle

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| Last updated 

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

Featured Image Credit: 6abc Philadelphia

A high school graduate was denied her diploma on stage by her principal after dancing during the ceremony.

The principal refused to hand over the certificate to the 17-year-old student who hails from Philadelphia during the event.

The recent graduate from the Philadelphia High School for Girls, Hafsah Abdur-Rahman, has since spoken out about the whole ordeal and how she feels after her principal 'stole' such an important moment away from her. Take a look:

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Footage from the event which took place earlier this month (June 9) shows Hafsah joyfully walking and dancing across the stage, clearly excited to finally receive the accolade.

However, that coming-of-age moment was seemingly snatched right from her when the principal refused to hand over the high school diploma on stage, allegedly due to the crowd's reaction.

The principal had reportedly already warned students of the certain protocols they had to follow on the special occasion - namely that their families could not cheer or clap when they walked on stage.

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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

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

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

According to Hafsah, the principal told her she could not receive her diploma because the crowd broke out into a chorus of cheers and laughter.

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"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."

The graduate has called the situation 'unfair'. Credit: 6abc Philadelphia
The graduate has called the situation 'unfair'. Credit: 6abc Philadelphia

Recalling the fiasco, Hafsah added: "She [the principal] stole that moment from me. I will never get that again."

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The student revealed she was 'so embarrassed' by the whole ordeal that she 'couldn't even enjoy the rest of the graduation'.

The School District of Philadelphia said in a statement quote: "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."

Hafsah says her principle 'stole' the moment from her.  Credit: 6abc Philadelphia
Hafsah says her principle 'stole' the moment from her. Credit: 6abc Philadelphia
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Hafsah has since said the assistant superintendent of the school has reached out to both herself and her mother apologizing for their less-than-fairytale graduation experience and to discuss the matter further.

The pair are now calling for a change to the school's system with Hafsah's mother Jaszmine Reid saying: "It's 2023, a lot has happened.

"These girls went through Covid together. Our kids are not even living up to see high school."

She continued: "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

Rhiannon Ingle
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