Set your alarm to watch Bryant High School graduation livestream ☝️ above at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 20th, 2023. The location is War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, Arkansas. (Turn phone horizontal for best viewing.)
UPDATE MAY 19, 2023
Bryant Public Schools and Bryant High School have made the decision to allow a senior student to walk in the graduation ceremony May 20th, 2023. The District originally stated that the student would not be able to walk because of a rule requiring seniors to ride in a school bus convoy to the graduation rehearsal.
According to a statement from the District, after a meeting on Friday morning, administrators and high school principal Tod Edwards were prepared to stand by their original decision of not allowing the student to walk, but later changed that decision.
The details are unclear, but in the statement, the district said the family told them there was an emergency that prevented the student from getting to the buses on time. The family did not disclose what that emergency was. The initial decision after the meeting was to stand by the school policy. According to the handbook, seniors are not allowed to walk in the graduation ceremony if they don’t ride the bus to the rehearsal (unless they contact the school and get permission beforehand).
However, after what the District is calling an “apparent miscommunication,” they ended up allowing the student to walk after all. The statement from the district does not disclose the nature of the miscommunication. The District’s entire statement is below in blue.
The Bryant High School 2023 graduation ceremony will be held at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, Arkansas, at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 20th. You can watch the livestream of the ceremony above.
Bryant School District’s Statement May 19, 2023
On Friday morning, in an effort to listen to, and carefully consider, any reasons that might have prevented the student from riding the bus to graduation rehearsal, district administrators and the high school principal met with the student and members of her family. While the family stated they had a family emergency, they elected to keep those details private and chose not to provide further information that would justify an exception to the student handbook policy.
Dr. Todd Edwards, principal of Bryant High School, leads the high school staff, students, and parents with honor and integrity. He is loved and respected by his students, staff and the community he serves. He appropriately followed the student handbook and made the correct decision regarding this matter. Following the meeting this morning, Bryant Public Schools Administration was prepared to support that decision.
However, this afternoon, due to an apparent miscommunication, the decision was made to allow the student to participate in the graduation ceremony. The student has been, and remains, a member of the Hornet Family. We wish her the best in the future.
Bryant Public School administrators will always base their decisions on the law, policy, handbooks, and what is best for students. The requirement that students must ride the bus to graduation practice in order to walk at graduation will remain.
No decisions will ever be made based upon social media activity and threats. The personal attacks and threats levied against Dr. Edwards and other Bryant staff members have been irresponsible and reprehensible. Some of the more serious attacks have been referred to law enforcement.
Bryant School District Administration strives to have positive and productive relationships with students and their families. We encourage students and parents to reach out directly to administrators to resolve any issues.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE, MAY 18, 2023
It looks as though at least one Bryant senior will not be allowed to walk in the “pomp and circumstance” of the graduation ceremony. The District said this is due to a decade-old policy requiring students to ride on the school bus convoy to graduation rehearsal.
Devin Sherrill, Bryant Public Schools spokesperson wrote in a statement on Thursday that the policy is for the safety of the over 600 students that head into Little Rock at the same time.
The student’s aunt posted a video on social media stating that the girl was unable to make it to the bus that morning due to special circumstances beyond her control that were not revealed in the video. The aunt stated that the girl arrived at the graduation venue, War Memorial Stadium before the buses arrived, but that she was denied walking in the graduation when she attempted to go inside.
Bryant School District Statement May 18, 2023:
Regarding the 2023 Bryant High School Commencement Ceremony, the Bryant Public Schools Secondary Handbook states that students “who do not ride the bus to and from graduation practice will not be allowed to participate in graduation without prior approval from the principal.”
The policy was put in place over ten years ago due to several students having automobile accidents on the way to graduation practice. The reason for this requirement not only has to do with student safety (over 600 students driving to and from Little Rock) but also the need to adequately prepare for a dignified graduation ceremony involving a large number of students and the many logistics involved with that process. Additionally, the graduation venue could not accommodate 600 plus individual vehicles for weekday parking. It would not have been possible for significant numbers of students to drive to the venue on their own and find a place to park.
Students and parents were notified multiple times about the requirement to be present and load the buses for graduation practice at 8:30am. Yesterday, the buses for graduation practice were scheduled to leave at 9:00am, but did not leave until 9:20am to account for any students who might have been late or for other logistical issues. Over 600 students arrived on time to ride the buses to graduation practice.
Only one student came directly to the venue without having prior approval to do so. No other student eligible for graduation, or who chose to participate in the graduation ceremony, missed the bus for graduation practice without having prior approval for alternate arrangements. Any allegation that similarly situated students were treated differently is completely false.
We understand the importance of graduation ceremonies to students and their families. We have reached out to the student, who is now an adult, for further explanation of why the student did not, or was unable to, meet this requirement or seek prior approval from the principal to make alternate arrangements.
We ask parents, guardians and members of the Bryant community to remember that social media may not always contain correct, accurate or truthful information. Bryant Public Schools always wants to communicate with parents and the community. In matters of student concern, the specifics of those communications must, by law, be between the district and the student’s parents or guardians, or with the student if 18 or older.