Milpitas didn't budge on punishment

June 12, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Milpitas High School senior was banned from her graduation ceremony on Saturday. On Friday, her classmates and some of their parents petitioned the school board to reconsider the principal's decision.

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"Let the poor girl walk," said Cathy Holly, a Milpitas High School alumnus.

Many spoke Friday night on behalf of Shontale Taylor. The Milpitas High School senior was suspended and banned from Saturday's graduation ceremony, because of a school fight. She says she was breaking it up, but a teacher said she took part.

Read part one of this story: Foster care teen not allowed to graduate

"I ask that you guys put a motion on the table to reconsider this decision so she can walk tomorrow with all the other kids," said Lisa Nanninga, a parent.

Students signed petitions and sent emails demanding the decision be reversed because for this foster teen, walking means everything.

"The percentage of people in foster care that don't graduate it's like 90 something percent, so this is a very important event," said Linda Pasters, a foster parent.

But with no deliberation or discussion, the board didn't budge.

"The district hopes its summer graduation ceremony in August will give Shontale an opportunity to celebrate her achievements," said Michael Mendizabal, a school board president. "And that's the end of the public comments."

Anger replaced hope, but for Shontale Taylor, it meant yet another let down.

"It's sad for me, I really wanted to walk across that stage, I wanted my name called and I know people would cheer for me," said Shontale Taylor.

The cheering did eventually come, a few hours later. There was one only public recognition Shontale will get. A non-profit, the Flame Keepers, honored her for her academic record and her school spirit.

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