Local parent upset graduation canceled while other large events continue

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Some Topeka Public Schools parents are upset after their kids’ high school graduation was canceled, again.

Rebecca McMullen said when her daughter found out, she was devastated.

“She just got really upset and went off to her room for a while, came back and she had been crying,” McMullen said. “I felt really extremely disappointed for her.”

She was even more shocked to see hundreds of people fill the same stadium that was supposed to hold their graduation, when the Shrine Bowl was held this past weekend.

“If we can actually have people going into the grocery store or we can have people doing other events,Ii don’t understand why would could not have had a graduation,” McMullen said.

The Shrine Bowl is a nonprofit that had been talking with the Shawnee County Health Department to figure out how to hold the event safely. Lots of changes to the annual game were made like making the players quarantine in a hotel a week before the game, taking temperatures twice a day and wearing a mask in public. Those last two requirements went for fans too.

Colin Cathey is the principal at Topeka West and said if they held graduation at Hummer Sports Park, there would be around 6,000 people there. The Shrine Bowl had about 1,500 people.

Current restrictions said no more than 2,000 people can be at a gathering. Cathey said they couldn’t take the same precautions as the Shrine Bowl.

“That was strongly discouraged by the health department having a large group gathering, especially having that many people going through a venue in a single day,” Cathey said.

McMullen said she wants to be safe, but is still disappointed.

“It feels like she is being robbed of her graduation and she done some crying over it, she gotten angry over it and so I just feel really bad she has not been able to have that milestone in her life,” McMullen said.

Topeka Public Schools had an online graduation where people got to see their name announced in a video, but McMullen said it’s not the same.

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