HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — Students and community members came out in support of Spain Park Senior, Omar Mohammad, for his peaceful demonstration as he advocated for Hoover City Schools to not hold an in-person graduation ceremony.
“It’s our responsibility as not just students we are about to be adults and turning 18 graduating it’s a turning point in our lives. This just doesn’t affect Spain Park and it just doesn’t affect Hoover this affects the community at large and if this graduation goes through cases can rise significantly,” said Omar Mohammad, Spain Park Senior/Demonstration Organizer.
In his protest, people listened to music, posted signs on their windows, and he invited is fellow classmates to speak out about the issue.
One of Hoover High’s valedictorians, Adelle Knight was also there showing her support with her mother. She says she doesn’t plan to attend graduation ceremonies either.
“I had very mixed feelings about not attending because it’s a celebration of what I have accomplished. I can’t justify it as a safe decision for my family or anyone else,” said Knight.
Hoover City Schools are exercising extreme precautions for both Spain Park and Hoover High School graduation ceremonies which will be held on separate days.
Each student can only invite four guests, everyone must wear masks, and the ceremony will be socially distanced. We reached out to Hoover City Schools to give us a statement regarding the issue and it reads in part.
“We respect the rights of students who gather and voice an opinion. We also remind them and other guests that graduations are completely optional and that the ceremonies have multiple layers of protective measures in place. These measures were also shared with and considered through by the Jefferson County Department of Public Health.”Hoover City School spokesperson
Mohammed adds he has dealt with some backlash since starting this initiative, so he’s grateful to all those who came out to support him.
“People that I was friendly with that don’t really support me and friendships have ended. I’m going to be dancing at home in my own way. I don’t need a fancy ceremony,” said Mohammad.
Mohammad says he will continue to send emails to district leaders voicing his concerns, prior to graduation next week.
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