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Diplomas withheld for LAUSD snub

June 22, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A diploma dilemma at a local middle school. Parents are now demanding an apology from the principal of Liechty Middle School for withholding their children's diplomas over their actions at a graduation ceremony. The angry parents of the students who didn't receive their diploma last Friday were back Monday morning demanding to meet with the principal.

The keynote speaker at the Liechty Middle School graduation was L.A. Unified School District Board President Monica Garcia. Angry over pending layoffs, 15 students turned their back to Garcia when she spoke. Those students didn't receive their diplomas that day. In order to receive their diplomas Monday there was a condition: apologize.

"She wants the kids to bring a letter, this letter, to make an excuse for Monica," said one angry parent, Olga Ochoa.

The parents and students crowded into the school's lobby Monday.

"We are willing to meet with you individually, you can make an appointment, we are ready for that," said Liechty Principal Jeanette Stevens. "What we are willing to do at this point in time is to arrange for interviews with each particular student, to make sure the diplomas are issued respectfully. We have issued over 450 diplomas, so no, diplomas where not denied in a group."

"We want an apology too, because he was screaming at me and Ivan, for no reason," said Yamileth Gonzalez, one of the affected students. "We just wanted to know why we didn't get our diplomas, and she was yelling at me."

After most people left the lobby area of the school, some kids did go back inside to pick up their diploma, some reporting they did not have to turn in a letter of apology.

When asked how it felt to receive his diploma, student Juan Lopez said, "Better now. Relief. I got it."

No word from the parents if any of them will make an appointment to meet with the principal individually.

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