MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Chaos at Northeast Lauderdale Graduation as hundreds of upset parents were denied to see a once in a lifetime achievement of their loved ones for lack of room.
Authorities turned away a crowd of people after Northcrest Baptist Church reached their 1100 person capacity. Doors were closed around 7 this evening and nearly 150 parents were sent to watch the commencement at the church’s student center from a livestream. We talked to several enraged parents, some who made a trip from Arizona and were declined access. The parents tell us that they are disappointed in the way the situation was handled.
"I was just like heartbroken. Like something just ripped out of my chest. Because 12 years of going to school, this is the greatest moment for her. So to see it on a screen, that's not ethical or whatever. They could've done better than that," Shana Kennedy says.
"They came back and said no announcement would be made. That it was first come, first served. But this isn't a restaurant. This is not a fast food restaurant. This is a graduation ceremony. This happens once in a parent’s life with their child. My son is graduating. His name is Ty Ramey, and I didn't watch it," Monica Ramey says.
Northcrest served as a backup plan to hold graduation due to the rain from earlier Thursday.
Church officials say they were contacted around 2:30 p.m. to make the graduation accommodations.
Northcrest released a statement that says in part, "We did everything we could to accommodate as many people as possible, bringing in hundreds of extra chairs, broadcasting the ceremony to our student center for people who couldn't get into the sanctuary, and streaming the graduation live on Facebook and our website."
You can watch the recorded graduation ceremony on Northcrest Baptist Church's Facebook page.