MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) Mobile County Schools recently announced it will limit the number of guests students can invite to graduation. Parents and graduating seniors are outraged and have started an online petition to get more tickets.
For the first time in 10 years, Mobile County schools' May graduates will only be allowed to invite 10 guests to graduation.
Phillip Sullivan, 17, is a graduating senior at Baker High School. He said 10 tickets will not be enough.
"My family is way bigger than that," said Sullivan.
Students started an online petition which has more than 400 signatures from parents and supporting family members.
Donna Steelman wrote online, "It's not right for graduates and parents to have to exclude family and friends from coming to honor the graduates."
Marie Schjott added online, "My son worked very hard all these years, and I'm very proud of him and I just think that its not fair to him or me (his mother) and everyone else to put a limit on who gets to see him walk across that stage on that very special day."
Sullivan stated, "I don't think that's okay. I think you should be able to have as many family members there as you want as many people as you want watching you graduate. I mean you only graduate once."
Connie Richmond wrote online, "This is so unfair to spring this on us after we have ordered and paid for invitations."
Commencement ceremonies are usually held on USA's campus at the Mitchell Center. It seats nearly 10,000 people, but Superintendent Martha Peek stated space is not the issue.
"There was an issue with noise and some what crowd control not rowdy crowds but simply the noise and action of the crowds," said Peek.
Another concern for students is the timing of the announcement. Superintendent Peek said the decision was made at the beginning of the semester, but students learned about ticket limitations only a few months before graduation. Many family members have already booked flights to Mobile to see their loved ones walk across the stage.
Superintendent Peek did mention the school has a solution for students who may not have enough tickets for their guests.
"All graduations are live streamed. They can be watched via our website," said Peek.