Parents locked out of commencement ceremony

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INDIANAPOLIS - Some parents of Perry Meridian graduates are livid that they were locked out of Friday's commencement controversy.

Walking through the doors at Perry Meridian High School for David Bowman was supposed to have been a night to remember, the night his stepson graduated. Bowman got into the school, but not the graduation.

"Then, on the most important day of that person's life, you are not allowed to see it," Bowman said.

He didn't get to see it, at least in person. Perry Meridian graduated more than 500 students and space in the gym is limited. Students are not given tickets to commencement, parents are told if they want a seat, to show up early.

"We had the letter that said the doors were going to be locked at 5:55," Bowman said.

He says he and his wife arrived 30 minutes before the doors were scheduled to close, but it was too late. They were put in an auditorium and had to watch graduation on a TV monitor.

On the back of the graduation program, there is a quote from Ayn Rand that says, "The question isn't who is going to let me, it is who is going to stop me." That was the question many parents were asking as they were trying to get into graduation.

"It was really crowded. It is always crowded every year, though," said a female student.

"It is really hard to find seats," said another student.

Those students, members of the 2012 graduating class, got into the ceremony by showing up an hour and a half early. They say part of the seating problem is others saving seats.

"There was a person, like, two rows behind us and they saved the whole row. At least ten seats that they were saving," the student said.

A number of Perry Meridian graduates say the event needs to be moved to a larger venue or they should issue tickets.

The school released a statement about the situation Sunday evening.

"The district regrets that not all families were able to watch the Perry Meridian High School graduation ceremony in the school's gym on Friday evening. We understand this is an important day for our students and families," the statement read.

"As our enrollment and our graduation rate continue to increase each year, our current process for commencement is no longer meeting the needs of our families. It is apparent that now is the time to review our existing practice and implement necessary changes before next year's graduation at Perry Meridian High School."