Family Members Charged for Loud Cheering at Mississippi Graduation

by Elizabeth Chuck /  / Updated 

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Four people could face jail time for cheering too loudly at a Mississippi high school graduation.

Authorities have charged them with disturbing the peace, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $500 fine, for disrupting commencement exercises at Senatobia High School on May 21.

One of them, Henry Walker, cheered, "You did it, baby!" when his sister's name was called and was promptly whisked outside, his mother said.

"I don't think it was right for what they did to him," Linda Walker told NBC affiliate WMC in Memphis.

Graduates at Senatobia High School in Mississippi.
Graduates at Senatobia High School in Mississippi.WMC

The superintendent, Jay Foster, who pressed the charges, told WMC that outbursts during past graduations led him to get tough. When the cheering is too loud, he said, some graduates can't hear their names called.

"I hope we send them a message that everybody deserves the right to hear their child's name called, see their child walk across stage," he said.

School officials had put a warning in the program saying that anyone who was disruptive or didn't hold their applause could be removed.

Zabe Davis, chief of campus police at Northwest Mississippi Community College, where the ceremony was held, told NBC News that his officers were instructed to take people out of the coliseum if they were disruptive.

"The principal would stop the ceremony and point out anyone who was being loud, and instruct us to remove them from the ceremony," he said.

Linda Walker said she was so happy to see her daughter graduate that she was crying.

"When a child does all they can to graduate, it's an honor and a privilege for them to walk that stage. It's a privilege for me to clap and applaud," she told WMC.

The four are scheduled to appear in court on June 9.

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