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Graduation denied on day of ceremony

May 29, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
He was paralyzed in a hit-and-run accident last year. Now all Hesperia High School student Aaron Horsley wants is to graduate with his class. But the school's administration put the brakes on his plan.By many accounts Aaron Horsley is a fighter. Surviving a hit-and-run accident, then trying to keep up with his classes while recovering at home. Now he's fighting for the right to graduate.

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Thursday night is a big night for Hesperia High School. The district rented the Hyundai Pavilion in Devore to hold its graduation ceremony. More than 600 seniors were to receive diplomas. But there's one senior who has endured a very difficult nine months, who won't be getting that degree, much to the consternation of his family.

Seventeen-year-old Aaron Horsley is paralyzed from the waist down. Last October, he was knocked from his motorcycle he was riding near his home, and was dragged a hundred yards, before being dislodged from the truck that sped away.

Showing remarkable resilience and composure for a teenager, Aaron spent weeks in the hospital. He was home-schooled, but apparently he didn't complete enough credits for graduation.

Aaron learned Thursday morning he would not take part in ceremonies Thursday night.

"It just seems like nothing good ever happens to me," said Aaron. "It's just one thing after another. [Graduation] is what I looked forward to since my accident happened."

The timing of the official notice of his shortage of credits is in question. But Aaron has his cap and gown, his yearbook with his pictures, and he even took part in the graduation rehearsal Wednesday.

Aaron's mother asked the principal to reconsider, to no avail.

"I can't even begin to tell you the pain this child has gone through, the torture he's gone through," said Marilyn Horsley, Aaron's mother. "Four months in the hospital, losing out on everything. And then still be paralyzed and still have all this. This is the one thing he was holding on to. He'll still graduate at the end of the summer, but it's not going to be the same. It just won't."

About that hit-and-run driver who allegedly caused all the misery in Aaron's life: Pedro Oviedo has been charged with three felony counts. He's believed to be in the Miami, Florida area.

Eyewitness News has learned that school district policies concerning cases like Aaron Horsley's vary, but in Hesperia, they make no provision for allowances.

The school principal said that sticking with that provision of the school district was one of the toughest decisions that he's made in 15 years as a principal. He also said that 30 to 40 other seniors will have to go to summer school before they get their graduating degrees.

 

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