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One-car rule for Leon County Schools' drive-in ceremony raises concerns

Posted at 6:40 PM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-29 19:01:23-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Leon County Schools is continuing to work on their plan to honor seniors in a drive-in graduation at the Tucker Civic Center.

The biggest concern for some school board members is the one car per graduate rule.

Outside of limiting how many people can attend the drive-in graduation, domestic violence is also being brought into the conversation.

"We don't know their situations," said Alva Striplin, a member of the Leon County School Board. "We don't know their households."

Striplin voiced concern over the district's decision on Tuesday to move to a drive-in graduation, with only one car allowed per senior.

Her concern is split families and those previously in domestic violence situations being comfortable in one car together, leaving the child to choose.

"We're putting a child, a child that's already had some trauma in their life," Striplin said, "we're putting them in a really difficult situation."

Yashica Gilliam is the parent of a graduating senior.

She says it's hard enough to decide which family members will attend because of the limited space in the vehicle.

"It's virtually impossible," said Gilliam. "You force children to make a choice, and that's a hard decision. That's a choice that any child should never have to make."

The district is now looking to make some adjustments to its plan.

In a statement to ABC 27, LCS Communications Coordinator Chris Petley said, "We would never ask anyone to be in an unsafe space and will work with families and schools to accommodate those specific families how we can, while still recognizing the limited parking spaces."

The main reason for the one car per graduate rule is parking. There are not enough spaces at the Civic Center for graduates to have multiple vehicles.

The district does not have a designated plan in place for those families yet.

If you need to know when your child will be graduating and rules for the drive-in, click here.