The call for high school graduation ceremonies continues to grow louder in North Jersey after the Waldwick Board of Education approved a measure to file a lawsuit for in-person graduation ceremony.
The move by Waldwick calls for their lawyer to go to court if the state doesn’t make a decision regarding in-person graduations by June 1.
The decision by the board follows legislation introduced by Assemblyman Jay Webber urging Gov. Phil Murphy to allow high school graduation ceremonies.
“Tens of thousands of New Jerseysans have joined together to say ‘Let our seniors walk, governor’” stated Webber (R-Morris) in a press release. “Seniors know, as much as anyone, that the virus has real consequences and that social distancing is important. They understand their graduation ceremonies must be modified.”
During his May 19 media briefing, Murphy said he’s hopeful in-person ceremonies could be held during the summer as long as New Jersey’s infection rates and hospitalizations continue to decline.
Parents and graduating seniors, the governor said, “have a right to have hope that we could still find a way—and they do have a right to have hope…I have that same hope. But, I would add to that, bear with us—we’re trying to figure this one out and I would hope sooner than later.”
He went farther than that on May 22, stating Murphy on graduation guidance would come after Memorial Day.
Murphy noted outdoor-related activities “where we can have some management of capacity and social distancing (are) high on our list of considerations.”
“We want to get this right. It would be a big gathering. The super-spreader notion. Not only are these big gatherings in close proximity, but the impact the virus has on individuals from those gatherings is consequential.”
Assemblymen Christopher DePhillips and Kevin Rooney, two of the sponsors of Weber’s resolution, have offered their support to the board and are calling on Murphy to allow in-person graduations to take place.
“I commend the Waldwick Board of Education for standing up for the rights of their students because they understand parents and students have worked years to earn the right to take part in this rite of passage,” stated Rooney (R-Bergen).
DePhillips believes every avenue should be exhausted to make sure no student misses this milestone.
“Students have had events such as their Senior proms and Senior trips stolen from them by the coronavirus pandemic and if we have a way to bring back some normalcy to their lives with allowing in-person graduation, then we should do it,“ said DePhillips (R-Bergen)
Legislators in 24th district are united in calling for safe and responsible outdoor high school graduations for Garden State senior students.
Trust Graduates, Families
“We believe that reasonable concerns can be met and overcome by prudent planning and we implore the governor to trust our graduates,” said State Sen. Steve Oroho (R-Sussex).
“If people can responsibly walk and celebrate in our parks and forests, then graduating seniors should be able to walk and celebrate their accomplishments in the same way,” said Assemblyman Parker Space (R-Sussex).
Assemblyman Harold Wirths noted that the governor’s opening of certain parts of the state economy has already been a success and that graduations will help return a sense of normalcy.
“We tell young people that if they do the right thing and follow the rules, they’ll be successful and their maturity will signal greater trust,” said Wirths (R-Sussex). “I can’t think of a better way to reward graduates’ hard work with a little more trust and guidance from my generations to celebrate their graduation.”