Swartz Creek families turned away from graduation ceremony at The Whiting

Published: Jun. 11, 2018 at 6:11 PM EDT
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(6/11/2018) - It's the moment parents spend years looking forward to -- seeing their child in cap and gown walk across a stage to get their high school diploma.

Some Swartz Creek High school parents and family members weren't able to see it Sunday night.

They were turned away at the door of the Whiting Auditorium, where this year's commencement ceremony was held. Whiting staff say about 40 people with the proper tickets weren't allowed into the theater.

The school district gave families two separate tickets. A white ticket allowed them a seat inside The Whiting and a red one for the overflow room at the Sloan Museum to watch the ceremony on a TV screen.

Jacob Ross was one of the few dozen other family members turned away. He said ushers checking tickets didn't do enough to make sure only people with white tickets got in the auditorium.

"I've seen a few people sneak in with red tickets or no tickets at all. They just snuck right pass them without any effort to talk them down or whatnot,” Ross said.

He was disappointed at how the Whiting staff handled this problem.

"You know it's a once-in-a-lifetime event. You know you can't take that time back," Ross said.

Unfortunately, the school staff learned of the issue after the ceremony was over.

"They were not checking tickets as diligently or as appropriately as we would have liked,” Swartz Creek Community Schools Superintendent Ben Mainka said.

He said administrators are looking at possible solutions, so this doesn't happen again.

"We are going to be looking closely at all of our available options, including the possibility of having it at a different space or different venue,” Mainka said.

The Whiting's executive director said his staff was aware of the different color tickets and that all tickets were checked.

Mainka said the school will consider hosting another smaller graduation ceremony for the families who didn't get in.

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