Rep. Severin Disagrees with ISBE Decision to Ban Graduations – 117th District State Rep. Says Schools Should be Trusted to Hold Safe Ceremonies

BENTON – State Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton) issued the following statement on Thursday in response to a decision by the Illinois State Board of Education to ban all K-12 graduation ceremonies.

“I have received multiple phone calls, emails, and text messages concerning the Illinois State Board of Education’s (ISBE) decision to ban all types of graduation ceremonies for K-12 schools in Illinois. By now, many schools throughout the state have already made plans for safe, ‘drive-through’ or ‘drive-in’ graduation ceremonies. Some schools are coming up with other safe, creative ways to hold graduations. 

All of these plans have been made with the health and safety of students, staff, and the general public in mind. ISBE’s decision to stop school districts from honoring their graduates in a creative, safe, and responsible manner is one I cannot for the life of me understand or support.

I served on the Benton school board for over 29 years, spending much of that time as board president. I know how important it is to parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends to watch their graduate receive their diploma. For graduates, having their name read aloud and receiving a high school diploma marks an important right of passage and the beginning of a new journey.

I am calling on the governor, his administration, and the Illinois State Board of Education to immediately reverse this decision. Our school districts are run by professionals that work every day to ensure the safety of our students. No one is advocating for large indoor gatherings for these ceremonies. In fact, the opposite is true. I am disappointed that ISBE doesn’t believe in our school administrators enough to trust them to conduct safe graduation ceremonies in whatever form they may take.

Thank you to everyone that has reached out to me to express disappointment and frustration. I share your feelings, and I will be sending the governor, the State Superintendent of Schools, and the Illinois State Board of Education a letter echoing these statements.”