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Tuesday, 30 November, 2021
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Students threaten to boycott their graduation

Students of the Pares Secondary School (PSS) graduating class of 2018 said their school leaving diplomas are being withheld because they are not interested in attending prom.
Over 30 students reached out to OBSERVER media to voice their frustration over the issue. The students said they and their parents were told they would need to pay $650 for the package deal to graduate at a church and the prom to be held at a restaurant on November 29.
But, at least one-third of the graduating class said they cannot afford to graduate because there are outfits, accessories and other things that they would need to buy for the special event, so they would prefer to opt-out.
The group of pupils said they should not be forced to pay for something that they are not interested in nor should they be punished and denied the right to walk for the last time as a student of the school at their graduation.
“We would like to go the prom, but, besides the $650 we would still have to pay for makeup, a dress, haircut and our dates also have to pay some sort of money to attend,” said one of the students. 
The students also claimed that their parents tried to opt out of the prom, in particular, because they had no say in the planning.
According to them, the situation has reached boiling point and they now do not plan to attend either event.
“I do not appreciate the fact that most of our students cannot graduate because we do not want to go to the prom, most of us had school fees to pay for and we find that the money they’re asking us to pay is ridiculous. Even if some of us decide to go to the prom why should they force the full payment on the ones who [don’t] wish to attend. I strongly believe that it is our prom and graduation so we should have a little say,” said another student.
“We’ve been paying unnecessary money for five years. Some of us like myself didn’t even have the funds to attend school every day and even if I did sometimes I didn’t even have lunch, but, we pushed through and now we hear that we don’t have a choice and if we don’t abide we won’t be graduating.“
The interviewees said they feel cheated out of their parents’ hard-earned money and they would like their wishes respected so they can graduate without attending prom.
They said that the venue for the graduation was poor and not scenic enough for photos and they did not like the selected restaurant which is located in Falmouth Harbour.
OBSERVER media reached out to the school’s principal Ursula Willock who said the committee would call the students to have a meeting on the matter.
Our newsroom tried without success to get a comment from the Ministry of Education on the policy governing graduation and if a student must attend prom.

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