BARRINGTON, R.I. (WPRI) — After parents and students were told earlier this week that the date may change, Barrington’s high school graduation will proceed on June 4 as scheduled.
“We wondered if it was April Fool’s day,” said parent Jenn Macaulay, describing her reaction to opening an email from the school Thursday which explained that the graduation date may need to be pushed back.
The district’s reason for the change was that, if the class of 2023 graduation ceremony is held June 4, students would fall short of the 171 days required by the state for graduating seniors.
“It felt very much like, ‘Oh, we screwed up, we got the dates wrong, and you guys have to deal with the fallout,'” parent Cat Horn said.
The notice on Thursday, which felt abrupt to parents just weeks before the scheduled graduation date, prompted plenty of pushback.
“A lot of people have family traveling from out of state, that have purchased airline tickets, made plans, travel plans,” Horn said. “A lot of kids had jobs lined up.”
Hearing that pushback, the Superintendent Michael Messore sent a letter Friday to Rhode Island Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green, asking her to waive the school day requirement.
In the letter, the superintendent explained while having the graduation on June 4 would fall short of the minimum requirement, Messore said the number of hours Barrington students spend in school actually exceeds the state-required amount in 171 days.
Infante-Green agreed. In a written response, she noted that a graduating senior in Barrington will have received 954 instructional hours, 14 more than required by the state.
As a result, she granted the waiver for the school, paving the way for graduation to be held on June 4.
“I couldn’t imagine it going another direction, to be honest,” Horn said.