COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (CBS4) – A charter school mired in a graduation controversy now says it will help parents move the ceremony. This week Victory Preparatory Academy in Commerce City canceled the event — which was was supposed to happen on Saturday — citing security concerns.
That prompted an outcry from parents and students, many of whom gathered on sidewalks near Victory Prep on Thursday. Some told CBS4 they came to get answers from the school’s principal.
The school did give some answers in the form of a letter. The principal walked out of the school shortly before they arrived and handed out a statement, which explains the school ordered 40 fewer tickets than in previous years to address some safety concerns and students requested 240 additional tickets, which pushes them to capacity. The letter also says school officials will help cover the costs of a ceremony elsewhere if families organize it.
Parents say their kids have waited years to walk across the stage and have an official graduation ceremony and the cancellation is still unfair. Some even called it bullying.
“Here we have this atmosphere teaching our kids that we’re not tolerating bullying, yet here we have administrations who bully the students. How are we supposed to feel? What are we teaching them? Because next year, they’re in the workforce or in college,” Joel Flores said.
Yosselin Alameda, a student, told CBS4 she’s dismayed by the situation.
“It’s hard because we have all been waiting for this day for four years. For them to just take it away, it’s just not fair,” she said.
Despite the cancellation, the graduating class will be able to take part in some celebrations this weekend. One was funded by a donor and a church is also opening its doors to hold a gathering.
The graduating class says they’re not taking the offer of money from the school, saying they simply don’t want it.
Some parents at Victory Prep are involved a lawsuit with administrators after a walkout at the school in 2017. A student protest led to all 120 students being suspended for the rest of the day. That lawsuit was filed in November and is making its way through the courts.