For Zimmerman, Top Honor but No Speech
Based on the school’s graduation ceremony program, the East Paulding High senior likely will not get to give a valedictorian speech during the school’s graduation ceremony Saturday.
Jake Zimmerman on Saturday is set to receive the honor of being his school’s top student, but it appears he will not receive the privilege that traditionally goes with it—a chance to address his peers and others in attendance at the graduation ceremony.
Dallas-Hiram Patch received Thursday a copy of East Paulding High’s graduation program booklet. The senior is listed as his school’s valedictorian, while Ann Marie Morehouse is the salutatorian.
The program booklet lists as part of the ceremony an address from Principal Scott Viness followed by the presentation of the valedictorian and salutatorian honors. Immediately following that presentation is the salutatorian’s address; no valedictorian’s address is listed anywhere in the booklet.
Zimmerman had been one of the 24 teens arrested following the March 11 vandalism of East Paulding High School and surrounding areas; most of those arrested were students. Zimmerman’s original punishment, which he says was also levied against others involved in vandalism of the school and nearby roadway, included 10 days of out-of-school suspension followed by long-term suspension for the rest of the year, the latter of which is carried out by the Ombudsman program. But that punishment package allowed those involved to graduate from East Paulding and participate at graduation ceremonies.
Zimmerman and his family appealed the punishment, and the school board at its April 10 meeting answered the appeal by levying against him an additional stipulation— a ban from extracurricular activities, including graduation. But a judge last week overruled that stipulation via a preliminary injunction, giving Zimmerman the green light to walk at graduation.
Return to Dallas-Hiram Patch for updates.
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