Mr. Farmer’s editorial June 11 took school administrators to task for their “gate-keeping” regarding participation in graduation ceremonies. He insists that the goal should be inclusion, not shutting people out.

My Webster’s II Dictionary defines graduation as “the conferring or receipt of an academic degree or diploma marking successful completion of studies.” Graduation is the celebration of academic achievement, a ceremony one earns a role in through study and performance. This is even more the case in the age of the Maine Learning Results which are standards-based. If students fail to meet the standards by the graduation date, their participation is postponed until they do. There will be another graduation, and those who qualify will be recognized and celebrated at that time.

Occasionally, young people make decisions that result in significant consequences. When the consequences are communicated up front, I support the right of youth to choose and to have their choices respected. We respect their choices by allowing the consequences to flow. If a student is warned that certain behavior will disqualify him/her for participation in graduation, and the student proceeds to act out anyway, then that student has chosen not to participate in graduation.

This is not the school’s fault, it is the student’s choice.

Mr. Farmer’s sentiments seem to suggest that graduation is not an academic celebration but a social right of passage. I disagree. The schools’ mission is education. Let’s keep the focus of graduation where it belongs.

Terry Hayes, Buckfield