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High School Student Denied Diploma at Graduation Ceremony Following Dance Performance

A recent incident at the Philadelphia School for Girls has gained attention after a high school student, Hafsah Abdur-Rahman, was denied her diploma during the graduation ceremony. The incident occurred when Hafsah decided to showcase a dance move as she approached the principal on stage.

Hafsah’s impromptu dance move received an enthusiastic response from the audience, with laughter and cheers filling the venue. However, when the time came for Hafsah to receive her diploma, it was not handed to her.

According to reports, the school had implemented a rule that prohibited family members from cheering or clapping for their graduating students. The noise generated by the audience after Hafsah’s dance was deemed a violation of this rule. Hafsah was not the only student who left the ceremony without a diploma that day, as a few others also faced a similar outcome.

Expressing her dismay, Hafsah spoke to 6abc Philadelphia, stating that she felt deeply embarrassed by the incident, which prevented her from fully enjoying her graduation. She acknowledged her understanding of the rules and even attempted to shush the crowd in the video.

Hafsah further expressed her frustration, highlighting that if her dance move was considered unacceptable, then other gestures such as waving, blowing kisses, or making signs should also be forbidden. She viewed the situation as unfair and believed that the principal had deprived her of a significant moment that she can never reclaim.

The specific dance move Hafsah performed, known as ‘The Griddy,’ involves tapping one’s heels and swinging their arms, as demonstrated in the footage of the incident.

Following the incident, the School District of Philadelphia released a statement, expressing their disapproval of withholding earned diplomas based on family members’ enthusiastic support for the graduates. The district apologized to all the affected families and graduates and committed to investigating the matter further to prevent similar occurrences in the future, told ABC 6.

Subsequently, Hafsah received an apology from the school. The assistant superintendent reached out to Hafsah and her mother, offering apologies for the distress caused and initiating a discussion to address the issue.

Hafsah’s mother, Jaszmine Reid, acknowledged the importance of traditions and rules but also suggested the need for their revision in light of this incident. She emphasized the significance of striking a balance between upholding traditions and ensuring that students can cherish their graduation experience.

Moriah Ballard
Moriah Ballard
Moriah Ballard joined the KPRC 2 digital team in the fall of 2021. Prior to becoming a digital content producer in Southeast Texas and a Houstonian, Moriah was an award-winning radio host in her hometown of Lorain, Ohio and previously worked as a producer/content creator in Cleveland. Her faith, family, and community are her top passions.


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