ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo – St. Louis County parents are fuming after their kids were turned away from their eighth-grade graduation ceremony. The event was at Westview Middle School in the Riverview Gardens School District.

Parents said they brought their dressed-up kids to the promotion ceremony to commemorate them graduating eighth grade and going on to high school.

However, they said when they got to the door they were told they couldn’t come in, while other students were allowed to pass.

One of the parents, Minyatta Simmons said she didn’t like that at all.

“This is a moment that they have to remember. You have four graduations: kindergarten, eighth grade, high school, and college,” she said. “Why rob them of that privilege.”

Another mother Lateasha Grant was also as angry that her daughter was not being allowed into the event on Wednesday.

”Honestly, my baby missing out on this experience and the tears coming out of her eyes, the embarrassment that she felt having the staff talk to her like she was an illegitimate person walking down the street, not a student of this establishment,” Grant said.

However, the school district has a different take. They said they handed students and parents a list of no no’s like poor attendance, fighting, and other misdeeds that kept students from being able to attend the promotion ceremony. The superintendent said students and kids were updated as they went along and should have known whether they could attend.

Students were blocked from the ceremony even though they were graduating and going to high school.

“Schools do have policies and procedures that we ask all of our young people to abide by whatever school not just Riverview Gardens but in all school districts,” said Dr. Joylynn Pruitt-Adams, superintendent of Riverview Gardens School District. “There will be points in time where that may not be to the parent’s pleasure that a student is removed or not allowed to participate in an activity.”

Parents said they still don’t like this one bit.

“I feel like she was robbed. I was robbed as well, ’cause that was her moment, that was her moment.”

A spokesperson for the Riverview School District released the following statement:

Westview Middle School and Riverview Gardens School District are aware of parent concerns regarding attendance restrictions in place for Westview Middle School’s promotional ceremony.
Riverview Gardens School District would like all scholars to be in attendance during promotion activities, school and District-wide events. However, scholars who failed to meet the expectations of the Positive Behavioral Interventional Support policy were not eligible to participate in the 8th-Grade Promotion ceremony. While we understand that this may have been a disappointment to the parents, it is important that all scholars meet the attendance, tardiness, academic and discipline requirements set in school and District policy. Westview Middle School parents and scholars began receiving notifications of the requirements and expectations at the beginning of the third quarter. Scholars who did not meet the PBIS requirements were
notified in February and given biweekly updates on their eligibility for the end of year promotion. Scholars who did not qualify were given ways to earn their way into good standing.
The families of eligible scholars received two tickets (per child) in advance of the promotion ceremony. Eligible scholars, who arrived without tickets, were provided with replacement tickets at the door. We believe that our staff was courteous and respectful to all comers. We also cannot corroborate the claims of any eligible student being turned away at the door. However, we look forward to working with our scholars, parents, staff and community to help all students meet the academic, behavioral and attendance requirements for future events.