Owasso family questions graduation fee

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Reported by: Janna Clark
Updated: 3/11/2013 5:23 pm Published: 3/11/2013 3:41 pm

An Owasso mother is upset after the Owasso Public School district began charging students a fee to take part in the graduation ceremony.

She told FOX23’s Janna Clark she doesn’t think it’s right for her daughter to have to pay to walk across the stage and get her diploma, “We live with my mom because I can’t afford to live on my own.”

Susan is a single mother of two and recently lost her job. She was surprised to find out her daughter, an Owasso High School senior, had to pay a $15 fee to graduation.

“It’s a hardship not just for me but for other families in Owasso.” Susan says that fee is money she needs for food.

Susan’s daughter is too embarrassed to talk on camera, she talked to FOX23’s Janna Clark on the telephone.

“I went to school for 14 years, and I don't understand why I have to pay to walk across the stage and get my diploma... I think it's messed up that all of us that don't have the money have to still pay to get our diploma." She told Clark in an emotional conversation.

FOX23 checked with Tulsa, Union, Jenks, Broken Arrow, Sand Springs and Bixby school districts. Owasso is the only district that requires a graduation fee.

Owasso principal, Matt Roberts, says the fee is not new and he’s only heard one complaint about it this year. He says the fee helps offset some of the graduation costs. Roberts says last year’s graduation cost $16,000 to hold it at the ORU Mabee Center.

Roberts says the Mabee Center is the only place with enough seats for the event, if all 600 seniors pay $15 that pays for half the cost.

He says the district will work with families in times of financial need. “Owasso Public Schools would never deny the right to any student that have earned their credits to walk across the stage,” says Roberts.

The school’s website says if the students can’t pay the fee, they can’t walk at graduation. Roberts says if a student’s family can’t afford it the student just needs to talk to the senior sponsor about waiving the fee.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

girl4GOD - 3/14/2013 8:10 AM
2 Votes
WOW ! Hannah, Hannah, Hannah..... I am not judging. Dear sweet child, everyone has a different path to walk, some in nice comfortable walking shoes, some barefooted and a rocky road.... I do have to explain my situation to anyone, but, I tell you I AM NOT WEARING NICE COMFORTABLE WALKING SHOES GOING DOWN A SMOOTH PATH, FAR FROM IT! My daughter does indeed work anywhere from 24 to 40 hours a week, goes to high school and taking college classes. She could also make a comment/post that has proper grammar, spelling and punctuation. She works hard for what she has and will have in the future.

t town253 - 3/13/2013 4:38 PM
0 Votes

t town253 - 3/13/2013 4:34 PM
1 Vote
Ps Hannah... everyone in the community and their mommas was brought into this issue when it was brought to FOX23news. And you dont read very well because Girl4GOD qoutes....."I tell you, my daughter pretty much works full time hours at a job she has had for 2 years, goes to high school and TCC...." Perhaps you are not ready to graduate yet.....

t town253 - 3/13/2013 4:28 PM
1 Vote
Because hannah you are the only one who has had or is having financial difficulty......GET OFF THE PITY PARTY! Referring again to the website....you have options. Stop feeling doomed and victimized. YOU ARE NOT. I can talk because I know EXACTLY what it is like when you are going through and have 3 payday loans out and eating sandwiches for lunch and dinner. And yet....my family and I, have made it and able to do what we needed to do. We have sacrificed and squeezed and robbed Peter to pay Paul....and yet....we did it. Do I empathize with you....of course. But I do not feel one bit sorry for anyone in the situation. LIFE IS NOT FREE. And please.....tell me where...what RCA codes.... it says that it is against the LAW???? LOL and how the hek do you know others situations or life? I work part time, put myself through college, PAID for my graduation, PAYING student loans, PAYING for my sons school supplies, clothes, and lunches, PAYING for my gas and necessary bills. JOIN THE REST OF YOUR FELLOW MANKIND.....and PAY LIKE EVERYONE ELSE!!!!!! Amen.

hannah - 3/13/2013 12:01 PM
0 Votes
dont judge us intill you have walked in our shoes. its a 50$ grad fee not 15. you guys should not be talking bout how you think all this is "NOT NEWS WORTHY" because you guys dont know what its like to walk in the peoples shoes who have finacial problems like me or erica. i think this mother that came forward is right about all this! that 50$ spent on graduation could be used to pay a bill or put food on the table.we work for our stuff. and girl4god is your daughter in high school??? no i didnt think so.. its kinda hard for people still in high school to get a FULL TIME JOB when theres school! you guys talk about college see we are not in college we are in high school. you guys dont go to this school or have children that go to this school so i think its best if you leave the conversation because this is about OWASSO SCHOOLS not you. did you guys have any clue that what owasso was doing is AGAINST THE LAW!!! no i bet you guys didnt.. so i think it would be best to leave you ugly remarks out of this

girl4GOD - 3/12/2013 6:42 PM
2 Votes
Thanks T Town... So glad to see there is still some common sense lingering around :) I wish it were contagious. GOD bless you !

t town253 - 3/12/2013 5:28 PM
1 Vote
Girl4GOD that is whats up. Make it work! If everyone had this poor me mentality, which is unfortunately becoming more and more common and easier to do, than nothing would be accomplished and mankind would not survive much longer. Things happen....its unfortunate...but we have just got to work harder....and let GOD do the rest. Oh yea, I forgot, people are becoming their own gods. My bad..............

girl4GOD - 3/12/2013 5:02 PM
2 Votes
Ok I was thinking again..... scary..... Does this kiddo work? I tell you, my daughter pretty much works full time hours at a job she has had for 2 years, goes to high school and TCC (her choice). My family can be labeled, I am currently unemployed, but we do what we have to to take care of business.

t town253 - 3/12/2013 12:23 PM
1 Vote
Lol for real notsosweettea. I just paid almost 100 for my college graduation. And then another almost 30 for my 8x10 grad pic.

notsosweettea - 3/12/2013 12:14 PM
2 Votes
You think that $15 for a fee is too much to graduate, wait until you get to college (assuming you go). This is indeed not newsworthy.
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