One high school senior almost missed his own graduation after he was told a school policy did not allow his type of shoes at the ceremony.
High school graduation ceremony goes on despite power outage thanks to mobile phones
When Daverius Peters, a senior at Hahnville High School in Boutte, Louisiana,arrived at the convention center where his graduation was being held May 19, a school representative blocked him from entering.
“She just stopped me saying I couldn’t wear my shoes,” Peters said. “Another kid had the exact same shoes, so I was confused.”
The school’s graduation dress code policy says male students must wear dark dress shoes and tennis shoes are not allowed. Peters wore Alexander McQueen black leather sneakers with white rubber soles, along with a white dress shirt, tie and black pants, which were a part of the school policy.
“I was embarrassed. I was humiliated. And I was just shocked when it started because my shoes were black and dark-colored, so like why am I getting stopped,” Peters said.
That’s when a teacher stepped in.
John Butler, a teacher at the school whose daughter was graduating that day, caught sight of Peters.
“There were only about five minutes left until the doors to graduation closed, and I was waiting outside for my wife to join us when Daverius comes to me in a panic and tells me they are not letting him walk the stage to receive his diploma and graduate,” Butler said.
Butler went to the school official to discuss the issue. She insisted that Peters was not allowed to walk the stage.
What happened next, Butler said, felt like a “no-brainer.” He was going to give his size 11 shoes to the high school senior.
“At first, he asked me what size I was,” Peters said. “I said a 9, and he gave me his shoes. I slipped on his shoes like slippers because of how big it was.”
Peters’ mom, dad, grandma and siblings had rushed in to take a seat and didn’t have a chance to pick up a program of the ceremony. When Peters’ name was called, his mom said, they debated whether it was actually him.
“I’m like, ‘That is Daverius,’ and they were like, ‘No, that is not Daverius. That kid has on brown shoes,’” Jima Smith recalled.”
When she confronted her son, Peters told her Butler loaned him the shoes so he would not have problems getting his diploma. It wasn’t until her son’s story went viral that his mom learned the whole story.
“When I turned to Mr. Butler, I called and contacted him and had a conversation with him asking him exactly what happened. … I was literally in tears because I did not know all of this took place and that my son had to experience it,” Smith said.
Smith said she understands students have to wear certain attire for graduation ceremonies, but the school should do a better job of addressing the dress code policy.
“The cap and gown are already costing us $138.50, and you don’t know people’s situation,” Smith said. “So you know, I had a big problem about that as well. Like how about a kid who can’t afford to wear these things that you’re requiring, and I think the school needs to put something in place, really look deep into exactly what’s going on.”
Butler said he plans to have a talk with school administrators to review the dress code policy and other guidelines for ceremonies.