Homecoming is over but the events that happened over the course of that weekend is still a topic of discussion as a crowd of approximately 25 did not have an opportunity to engage with their family during the coronation ceremony.
Family and friends who came to support their loved ones were greeted with a locked Junior High School gymnasium door one minute after the start of the Coronation Ceremony.
A press release from the District was released prior to Homecoming stating the procedures for guests.
The statement read: All visitors must enter through the Junior High Gym on the south side. ID will be required at the door. Visitors must park in the football parking lot. No exceptions. No one is allowed to park on the curb by the gym.
“Nowhere did it say if you are late you would be locked out,” said an upset family member who traveled from out of town to support her niece. “This is just ridiculous.”
While tears of joy may have been shed inside, tears of sadness were being shed outside as the mother of one of the Homecoming maids was denied access and began to cry.
“Aaliyah Berry’s mom got to the door at 1:31 pm and they would not let her in,” said Nikita Lowe, who was also locked outside with the crowd. “We all got on “In The Loop” and that’s how we were able to see who was crowned and it so happened it was my God baby and that made me even more upset.”
Locked outside were loved ones from Las Vegas, Jonesboro, Dallas, Bryant, Benton and White Hall just to name a few.
School faculty and staff were also locked out.
“I have never known them to lock the doors and I am late every year because I work out of town,” said the aunt of one of the Homecoming maids.
During the October 8, 2019, School Board meeting, School Board President Napoleon Davis Jr. addressed the mishap.
“We are spending and have spent a lot of money on school culture trying to make the culture in our schools better so that we can maximize student learning so parents feel welcome when they come to school,” said Davis. “My concern is there are situations that come up that if we don’t adjust, it can cause a bad reflection on the school.”
Davis mentioned he was blasted at the Homecoming Football game Friday night by SHS Alumni who had traveled from Seattle, Washington and Daytona Beach, Florida.
“They were visiting a classmate that had a stroke,” said Davis. “They came from there to the coronation, but they were two or three minutes late and not allowed to enter.”
Davis said those actions did not put the school in the best light.
“We wanted them to come and when they came, because they were not on time, they were not allowed to enter,” said Davis. “It didn’t look good on us when we have people come to our building that we invite and they can’t get in our building.”
Visitors said they were told by administration the information was online concerning locking the doors for safety reasons.
“I know safety is paramount but there should be a certain amount of flexibility we can show to parents and former students so we are not cast in a negative light,” said Davis. “I’ve been to pep rallies and other school functions where I have not necessarily been on time and never denied entrance.”
Davis advised the board that in the future when deciding on the policies of the district, consider the community.
“Let’s consider when we do and put on the policies of this district that we consider the parents that we have,” said Davis. “Let’s always put our best foot forward because it’s the people that we serve that we will have to go through for things that we need and we want them as happy as can be.”