Imagine the moment when your kid finally graduates from high school. His name is called and all you want to do is squeal with excitement. Now, imagine that after you let out a cheer you’re escorted out of the ceremony in handcuffs. Sound crazy? Believe it or not, that’s exactly what happened to South Carolina mother Shannon Cooper on her daughter’s graduation day.
"I am still living in shock," Cooper told MSNBC.com. "It all seems like a bad dream, a nightmare of what was to be one of the happiest days of our lives. I cheered for my baby and I got the cuffs."
This proud mom along with other audience members had been warned to behave during commencement ceremonies by prior school announcements and letters. If they failed to do so, they would be escorted out. Commenters on WPDE’s local news coverage of the incident explained that the principal also began the ceremony by explaining that the senior class had requested that the audience remain quiet until the names of all graduating students had been read. While apparently not the only audience member to disregard the request, Cooper was not only escorted out, but also arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. She was booked for several hours in Florence County Detention Center until posting a $225 bond.
Cooper’s daughter had no idea what happened to her mother during the ceremony; her friends ended up telling her that police had taken her mother away. When the 18-year-old finally located her mom, she found her handcuffed in a police van. They were unable to speak to one another; all the new graduate could do was look on and cry.
Cooper says she fully cooperated with police, but couldn’t help thinking to herself, “Are you all serious? You for real?’ She was in complete shock that authorities went so far. Cooper and her daughter claim that there were many people cheering for their kids and that Cooper’s yelps were no different than any of the others.
Florence Police Chief Anson Shells reported that two others were arrested during the commencement service. “They were disruptive enough that officers felt they had to be removed and that they had violated the law.”
Do you think this mother violated the law, or as she put’s it “Just being a happy parent?” Did authorities go too far with the arrest; would escorting her out have been efficient enough?