Principal of Middletown High School apologizes after families ke - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Principal of Middletown High School apologizes after families kept out of graduation

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MIDDLETOWN, OH (FOX19) -

The principal of Middletown High School issued an apology Wednesday after some parents were turned away from the school's graduation ceremony Tuesday night.

The ceremony was scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Princeton Pike Church of God in Hamilton. Doors were set to open at 6 p.m.

School officials said that tickets based on the exact number of available seats were distributed to families ahead of time.

However, some families said that they missed the milestone moment even though they had tickets. Christina Sampson said that when she got there around 7:15, she had her tickets in her hand, but was told that she could not go inside.

"I was [later] in the car about to cry," Sampson said.

Sampson is not alone. A photographer hired to snap pictures of several graduates showed up with two tickets and said she never got through the doors.

She said that sheriff's deputies who were working security told her and many others, including a mother who broke out into tears, the church was at capacity.

"It was heartbreaking - the look on her face. It was bone-chilling. I can't even, I can't fathom the thought of not being able to see my child walk across the stage," Jasmine Davis, the photographer, told FOX19 NOW.

School officials believe they know what caused the problem.

The high school principal, Carmela Cotter, released a statement Wednesday that read:

"Middletown High School wishes to apologize to anyone who had a ticket for graduation and was denied access after the ceremony began at 7:00pm. Tickets for the exact number of seats available in the auditorium were issued. Each main door had security supplied by Princeton Pike. Following graduation, the management of Princeton Pike alerted us that someone inside the building had gone to a door and let in several people without tickets. As a result, capacity inside the building was reached. Thus, the sheriff closed the access doors at 7:15pm.
Graduation is a very special time for every student and parent. We are very sorry if any ticketed parent or family member was denied entrance and will take into account this security challenge when organizing future events."

Some parents said that they want to see the graduation ceremony moved into a larger space, so that this never happens again.

"I think that was wrong, but if you have it somewhere else that's big enough, that's not an issue," Sampson said.

"Parents, grandparents, whomever have raised them or they look up to, they're looking for these people to be there, and it's very important that they are, so I'm hoping that's what we can make happen," Davis said.

One parent told FOX19 NOW that she spoke with the superintendent Wednesday and learned that the district is already looking at moving the graduation into a new venue next year.

FOX19 NOW is working to confirm that with the district. School officials have not released any more information at this time.

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