Parents demand answers after Marlin High seniors found ineligible to graduate days before ceremony

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 8:53 PM CDT
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MARLIN, Texas (KWTX) - Leaders with the Marlin Independent School District on Wednesday night met with parents of seniors, and other community members, after Marlin High School announced it was rescheduling its graduation ceremony for June after an audit revealed 21 of its 38 seniors were not eligible to walk the stage to receive a diploma.

Marlin ISD Superintendent, Dr. Darryl Henson, held a mandatory meeting for parents at the high school’s auditorium to explain that some of the seniors affected will not graduate due to unexcused absences and failed courses.

The district initially revealed only five of 33 seniors were eligible to graduate. On Wednesday, however, Henson said the number of seniors now eligible to graduate increased to 17 after an additional 12 students worked to meet the requirements over the past several days.

“Everything we have done, and will continue to do, is for the benefit of our children,” Henson said, “I would rather have the emotions now. I would rather have everyone be upset now, rather, than having to call you back in January of ‘24 and telling you that the diploma you received is not worth the paper it is printed on.”

Parents were also given the opportunity to ask questions or, simply, voice their concerns and opinions. “I am a parent and I’m hurt. This is a catastrophic failure of leadership and accountability,” a woman told the superintendent.

Many of those in attendance expressed their frustration with the decision to postpone the ceremony, and demanded answers from the district.

One parent in attendance told the superintendent she was never informed her son wouldn’t be able to graduate until just a few days ago. The mother said she did not even receive a single phone call from the school prior to learning her son was ineligible to graduate.

One community member told those in attendance that school administrators should not have to entirely shoulder the blame.

“There’s a lot of people to blame, from here (at school) to out there (in the community), because you can’t get here unless you come from home. And at home, you have to send these kids to school. That’s where attendance comes into play,” the community member said.

Students will not be able to walk the stage on Friday, like initially intended. They will graduate sometime after June 22 when summer school ends.

The exact date remained up in the air Wednesday evening.

“I’m sorry. In fact, there is no excuse. It will be corrected going forward,” Henson told parents.