By: Sharon Aron Baron
When a parent is waiting for that special moment to see their son or daughter graduate from high school, they want an equal chance just like anyone else to get the best seats at the ceremony.
But how would you feel if you lined up for over an hour in the corridors, or even outside of the venue in the heat, only to find out a whole section of seats were roped off by a school board member for her friends?
This is what happened at the graduation ceremony for Marjory Stoneman Douglas on June 3, at Nova Southeastern University, and what sources said happens every year: School Board Member Chair Abby Freedman cordons off seats for friends in her district.
When parents receive tickets, they are for general seating, so the first ones that get there – or the first ones that line up, generally get the closest seats. According to witnesses who were at the graduation, even though the ceremony had general seating, Freedman prevented access to the general public to an area in a front section on the right side of the stage. Nor was it available to the families of the valedictorian or salutatorian’s families. When they tried to sit in the empty seats, Freedman yelled at them to leave.
The sad part was that once the ceremony started, and after keeping people out of “her” section, a whole row of seats were left unfilled said parents.
Freedman, doesn’t make a point of reserving sections at any other high school graduation in her district in the North part Broward County, only at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where students from both Coral Springs and Parkland attend.
“First of all, she shouldn’t be doing it for any high school,” said a parent. “These parents wait in line for over an hour for the best seats, and she shouldn’t get preferential treatment as a board member.”