A high school commencement ceremony in Texas was called off after the district found that only of five of 33 prospective grads were eligible to cross the stage, officials said Friday.
Marlin HS, about 120 miles south of downtown Dallas, had been set to pass out diplomas on Thursday before the Marlin Independent School District revealed that a number of pupils "did not meet requirements due to attendance or grades."
In announcing the ceremony postponement, Superintendent Darryl Henson said that students in his district "will he held to the same high standard as any other student in Texas."
"We maintain high expectations, not as an imposition, but as a show of faith in our students' abilities," Henson said in a statement to the community.
Superintendent Henson and his staff audited student files this past weekend to find only five were eligible to graduate, district spokesperson Leah Wayne told NBC News on Friday.
The ineligibility stemmed from a myriad of reasons, including failing grades, attendance, verification and documentation issues.
"They found some deficiencies with the data compared to where they felt it should be," Wayne said. "That’s why they afforded the students some additional time. They made the decision to postpone graduation so that more students would be able to fix some of those issues.”
Those ineligible students have been doing makeup work and getting proper forms signed — and as of Friday, 27 of 33 students can now turn tassels, Wayne added.
Students in the district's Alternative Education Program were also impacted by the late-term audit, which found that just two of those five pupils were eligible to walk.
That total is now up to three, so a total of 30 of 38 Marlin ISD students are now ready to cross the stage, according to the district.
Despite any inconvenience or embarrassment caused by the postponement, school officials insisted the decision was made in the best interest of students in the state-controlled system.
"That's been the mainstay of this administration, we're not going to cut corners. This school district was a failing school district for 10 years before it was taken over by the state," Wayne said.
"No student should just be passed through the system and that's part of the reason why this audit was taken."
The date of a re-scheduled graduation had not been set as of Friday.