Score one more for the power of social media. When classmates and an alum from Ohio’s Carrollton High learned that Austin Fisher was not going to be allowed to join his classmates for graduation, they swung into action.
Fisher had too many unexcused absences in his senior year so received notice he would not be allowed to walk across the stage with his fellow graduates. Apparently no one thought to ask the young man why he missed 16 days, two more than allowed. His school record in academics and baseball should have tipped someone off that there might be extraneous circumstances.
Thousands of people signed petitions in support of Fisher and registered their support on Facebook. Others carried signs or wore t-shirts emblazoned with “Let Fish Walk.” That made school administrators take notice.
Fisher was not staying home because he was lazy or bored with school. He was missing classes to help look after his mother, who has been battling breast cancer for the past seven years. When Fox 8 News interviewed him, the young man said:
I wanted to take a lot of pressure off of her, because that’s the most important thing when you have cancer — a stress-free lifestyle. I mean, that’s how you heal the best, so that’s what I was trying to do.
The school district could not ignore the flood of support. Young Fisher will be allowed to graduate with his classmates. As part of the agreement, neither his family nor the Board of Education is speaking publicly.
Mistakes happen. Carrollton High administrators made a big one.
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