Local Senior Walks at Graduation Out of Controversy

Henry County, AL - Controversy has been brewing in Henry County for nearly a month over a high school senior who wouldn't be allowed to graduate. Tuesday, he took one final step to try and participate in his graduation ceremony.

His parents filed a motion for declaratory judgment and a temporary restraining order, and the judge ruled in his favor.

Circuit Judge Brad Mendheim presided over the hearing in the case of Aaron Sanders.

Sanders was originally told he couldn’t participate in Headland High School's graduation ceremony because he failed a portion of the Alabama high school graduation exam.

His mother, Amy, said she wasn’t asking for a diploma. She simply wanted him to walk across the stage.

“They've done the right thing for the children. It is the wrong thing for them not to be able to walk. It shouldn't have came to this point. It should not have come to this point,” said Amy Sanders.

School board members say they were following the policy that had been in place since 1998.

It took Mendheim more than two hours to make that final decision, allowing Aaron to walk in graduation Tuesday night.

In the official order he said, “In this case the school board has not adequately explained the basis for the policy at issue as applied to a student under these or similar circumstances.” It went on to read, “Apparently, many other school systems in the state would allow this student to participate in graduation activities under these circumstances and apparently the state school superintendent would approve the student’s participation.”

Sanders did not receive a diploma; he simply walked across the stage and shook the superintendent and principal's hands.

“Aaron is just overwhelmed. When he heard the news he just started crying and we all did. There were a lot of bear hugs from friends and family. I'm overwhelmed right. I'm still kind of numb and I believe Aaron is too,” said Sanders.

The courtroom was full of other students from Abbeville High School who will not be allowed to walk in their graduation later this week, but the ruling could open up the option for them to file for an injunction.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Bunny Location: Dothan on May 25, 2012 at 12:30 PM
    This is exactly what is wrong with America! Instead of EARNING your way, you just pitch a fit to GET your way.
  • by Ann Location: Geneva, Al on May 24, 2012 at 04:30 PM
    Congratulations to Aaron!! Best of luck to you!!
    • reply
      by Shawna on May 25, 2012 at 01:03 PM in reply to Ann
      yeah, congrats to Aaron on convincing(?) a judge to give him his diploma even though he did not pass the tests like everyone else had to.......I am sure you will go far in life...as long as everything is GIVEN to you and you don't have to EARN it!
  • by john on May 23, 2012 at 07:47 PM
    I had to pass the exam to walk and so did my class mates its not right just because somebody pitches a fit they get there way the way I see it you don't pass you don't walk life is not fun and games next time mommy can't pay the Dean off

    • reply
      by Amy on May 24, 2012 at 12:17 AM in reply to john
      I am tired of hearing commments as to the "failed" graduation exams! This matter has nothing to do with whether the tests are successful or not. These tests, along with other criteria, were implemented into the school system years ago. Do we just go to a judge and have everything that we think doesn't work overturned for our convenience? What are we teaching our children when we tell them they don't have to follow the rules? Sickening is what i think this entire controversy is! For crying outloud, how hard is to pass a reading test on the 8th grade level, when you are a senior with a (supposedly) 3.2 GPA??? Lots of questions have not been answered in this matter. I suppose some people are "above the law". What goes around, may just come around! Mommy is the cry-baby! Follow your son around and change all the rules just for him.... You are not doing him any favors by doing so! Oh well, he can always throw a football (as long as Daddy feeds the team).
  • by scotty Location: headland on May 23, 2012 at 04:44 AM
    IT'S SAD THAT LAW CAN BE BENT FOR THOSE WITH MONEY AND THOSE WITHOUT ARE LEFT OUT TO DRY,THIS IS WHATS WRONG WITH THIS STATE IT'S NOT WHAT YOU KNOW IT'S HOW MUCH YOU HAVE AND WHO YOU KNOW, GROW UP ADULTS YOU CAN,T ALL WAYS BUY YOUR WAY OUT OF PROBLEMS!!!!!
  • by Anna Location: Headland on May 22, 2012 at 10:15 PM
    I suppose from now on, if your child cannot earn his/her diploma, just take it to a judge! My child, along with countless others, had to pass ALL of the graudation exams, along with ALL of the other criteria to be able to "walk". Graduation is not just a social function for the students to attend. It is a celebration for students that have met ALL of the criteria placed before them by the state, district, and/or county. By walking across that stage having not met ALL qualifications, it negates everything that all of the other students had to do in order to graduate. This makes a diploma a joke! Why work hard when Mommy and Daddy will beg a judge to "give" it away. What does this say about obeying the rules and earning your way through hard work and accountability? Sad day for ALL of the students that actually "earned" their diploma! I personally would be embarrassed that my child could not pass a reading test on an 8th grade level in his senior year! But after this why should he
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