WATCH | Graduating student denied diploma because she ‘danced’ on stage to receive it

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WATCH | Graduating student denied diploma because she ‘danced’ on stage to receive it

A senior from The Philadelphia High School for Girls is speaking out after being denied her diploma for dancing across the stage and making the crowd laugh.

“She (the principal) stole that moment from me,” said Hafsah Abdur-Rahman, 17, in an interview with 6 ABC Philadelphia. “I will never get that again.”

According to Abdur-Rahma, Principal Lisa Mesi warned students that their families could not react with clapping or cheering when they walked on stage on June 9.

“I understood the rules because I was saying ‘shh’ in the video. Do not say nothing because I want my diploma,” said Abdur-Rahman. “I knew and understood what we were supposed to do.”

In the video, the crowd can be heard laughing as Abdur-Rahman danced across the stage — and for this, the principal withheld her diploma.

“If they thought that I shouldn’t do ‘The Griddy’ across the stage and do the Girls’ High traditions, nobody should have been able to wave or blow kisses or do period signs because I feel like that’s the same thing. I feel like that’s unfair,” said Abdur-Rahman.

“I was so embarrassed. I couldn’t even enjoy the rest of the graduation,” she added.

Three other girls did not get their diplomas on stage, but 6 ABC Philadelphia reports that they received them after the ceremony.

In a statement, the School District of Philadelphia said: “The District does not condone the withholding of earned diplomas based on family members cheering for their graduates. We apologize to all the families and graduates who were impacted and are further looking into this matter to avoid it happening in the future.”

Abdur-Rahman said the assistant superintendent of the school apologized to her mother.

“It’s 2023, a lot has happened,” said her mother, Jaszmine Reid. “These girls went through COVID together. Our kids are not even living up to see high school. I understand traditions and rules are set in place for a reason, and we’re not saying they should be broken, but it might need to be revised also.”