Proposal empowers schools to make plans for safe commencement ceremonies
State Rep. Ann Bollin is leading an effort to make sure Michigan high school graduates have an opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments with their friends, families and teachers this year.
Bollin, of Brighton Township, has introduced a measure that would ensure state health department rules don’t once-again prevent Michigan school districts from hosting commencement ceremonies.
“For so many of us, our high school graduation ceremony was the highlight of our senior year,” Bollin said. “It’s a time-honored tradition during which memories are made and dreams are shared. Sadly, too many of our kids missed out on this opportunity last year and I have heard from hundreds of families who are worried that this year is shaping up the same way.”
Under current state health department rules, Bollin said three high schools in her district would not be able to host graduation ceremonies without limiting students to one guest each – even if they hosted it at a venue with more than enough space to adhere to social distancing recommendations.
“Michigan seniors deserve an opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments with all those who led and supported them along the way,” Bollin said. “Deciding which of their loved ones gets to attend their graduation ceremony is not a choice any teenager should be forced to make. I’ve heard your concerns and I’m committed to making sure no family has to make this heartbreaking choice.”
Bollin’s plan, House Bill 4728, would prevent state or local emergency orders from prohibiting or limiting graduation ceremonies at schools for the graduating class of 2021 that take place during the 2020-21 school year.
“In no way does this require a school district to hold a commencement ceremony or obligate a student and their family to attend,” Bollin said. “It simply allows districts to choose to hold a graduation ceremony in a safe manner that suits their own district.”
The House Education Committee today approved HB 4728 today after Bollin testified before the panel. It now moves to the full House for further consideration.
Rep. Bollin, who served as Brighton Township clerk prior to her election to the House, says changes announced by the Secretary of State Tuesday are not enough to provide Michigan residents with the level of services they deserve.